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ATHENIAN  ORACLE 

ABRIDGED; 

CONTAINING  THE  MOST  VALUABLE 
199 

THE  ORIGINAL  WORK  j 

ON 

HISTORY,  PHILOSOPHY,  DIVINITY, 

LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE. 


ILonUon: 

PRINTED  BY  AND  FOR  JOHN  NICHOLS  AND  SON, 

25,  PARLIAMENT-STREET,  WESTMINSTEH. 


1820. 


ADVERTISEMENT, 


THE  present  Abridgment  contains  the 
quintessence  of  "  The  Athenian  Oracle;"  and 
comprises  a  rich  treasure  of  useful  knowledge, 
for  the  Theologian,  the  Historian,  the  Phi- 
losopher, and  the  Lover.  In  short,  all  classes 
may  find  In  the  present  Work  something 
conducive  to  their  pleasure  and  improvement, 
in  their  hours  of  seriousness,  as  well  as  those 
of  gaiety. 

The  Athenian  Oracle''  was  a  Selection  of 
what  was  valuable  in  The  Athenian  Mer- 
cury," one  of  the  many  Projects  of  the  cele- 
brated John  Dunton;  who,  in  his Life 
and  Errors,"  thus  informs  his  Readers  of  the 
true  Question  Project^  and  of  the  several 
Persons  that  engaged  in  it : 

"  I  had  received  a  very  flaming  injury,  which 
was  so  loaded  with  aggravations,  that  I  could 
scarce  get  over  it ;  my  thoughts  were  constantly 
working  upon  it,  and  made  me  strangely  uneasy : 
sometimes  I  thought  to  make  application  to  some 
Divine,  but  how  to  conceal  myself  and  the  un- 
grateful wretch,  was  the  difficulty.    Whilst  this 


I 


iv  ADVERTISETMENT. 

perplexity  remained  upon  me,  I  was  one  day 
walking  over  St.  George's-fields,  and  Mr.  Larkin 
and  Mr.  Harris  *  were  along  with  me ;  and  on  a 
sudden  I  made  a  stop,  and  said,  '  Well,  Sirs,' 
I  have  a  thought  Til  not  exchange  for  fifty  gui- 
neas They  smiled,  and  were  very  urgent  with  me 
to  discover  it ;  but  they  could  not  get  it  from  me. 

The  first  rude  hint  of  it  was  no  more  than 
a  confused  idea  of  concealing  the  Querist,  and 
answering  his  Question.  However,  so  soon  as  I 
came  home,  I  managed  it  to  some  better  purpose, 
brought  it  into  form,  and  hammered  out  a  title 
for  it,  which  happened  to  be  extremely  lucky, 
and  those  who  are  well  acquainted  with  the  Gre- 
cian History  may  discover  some  peculiar  beauties 
in  it. — However,  the  honest  Reader  that  knows 
nothing  of  criticism  may  see  the  reason  why  this 
Project  was  intituled  ^  The  Athenian  Gazette,'  if 
he  only  turns  to  Actsxvii.  31. — When  I  had  thus 
formed  the  design,  I  found  that  some  assistance 
was  absolutely  necessary  to  carry  it  on,  in  regard 
the  Project  took  in  the  whole  compass  of  Learn- 
ing, and  the  nature  of  it  required  dispatch. 

"  I  had  then  some  acquaintance  with  the  inge- 
nious Mr.  Sault  ;  who  turned  Malebranche  into 
English  for  me,  and  was  admirably  well  skilled  in 
the  mathematicks ;  and  over  a  glass  of  wine  I  un- 
bosomed myself  to  him,  and  he  very  freely  offered 


*  Two  eminent  booksellers. 


ADVERTISEMENT. 


V 


to  become  concerned.  So  soon  as  the  design  was 
well  advertised,  Mr.  Sault  and  myself,  without 
any  more  assistance,  settled  to  it  with  great  dili- 
gence :  and  Numbers  1.  2.  were  entirely  of  Mr. 
Sault's  composure  and  mine. 

"  The  Project  being  surprizing  and  unthought 
of,  we  were  immediately  overloaded  with  Letters ; 
and  sometimes  I  have  found  several  hundreds  for 
me  at  Mr.  Smith's  coffee-house  in  Stocks-market, 
where  we  usually  met  to  consult  matters. 

"  The  ^  Athenian  Gazette'  made  now  such  a 
noise  in  the  world,  and  was  so  universally  re- 
ceived, that  we  were  obliged  to  look  out  after 
more  Members ;  and  Mr.  Sault,  I  remember, 
one  evening  came  to  me  in  great  transport,  and 
told  me  he  had  been  in  company  with  a  gentle- 
man, who  was  the  greatest  prodigy  of  Learning  he 
had  ever  met  with ;  upon  inquiry,  we  found  it 
w^as  the  ingenious  Dr.  Norris,  who  very  gene- 
rously offered  his  assistance  gratis,  but  refused 
to  become  a  stated  Member  of  Athens.  He  was 
wonderfully  useful  in  supplying  hints ;  for,  being 
universally  read,  and  his  memory  very  strong, 
there  was  nothing  could  be  asked,  but  he  could 
very  easily  say  something  to  the  purpose  upon  it. 

"  In  a  little  time  after,  to  oblige  Authority^ 
we  altered  the  title  of  '  Athenian  Gazette  into 
'  Athenian  Mercury'  The  undertaking  growing 
every  week  upon  our  hands,  the  impatience  of 
our  Querists,  and  the  curiosity  of  their  Questions, 


VI 


ADVERTISEMENT. 


wh\ch  required  a  great  deal  of  accuracy  and  care^^ 
obliged  us  to  adopt  a  third  member  of  Athens ; 
and  the  Reverend  Samuel  Wesley  being  just 
come  to  town,  all  new  from  the  University,  and 
my  acquaintance  with  him  being  very  intimate,  I 
easily  prevailed  upon  him  to  embark  himself 
upon  the  same  bottom,  and  in  the  same  cause. 
With  this  new  addition  we  found  ourselves  to  be 
masters  of  the  whole  design,  and  thereupon  we 
neither  lessened  nor  increased  our  number. 

"  The  '  Athenian  Mercury'  began  at  length  to 
be  so  well  approved,  that  Mr.  Gildon  thought  it 
worth  his  while  to  write  ^  A  History  of  the  Athe- 
nian Society;*  to  which  were  prefixed  several 
Poems,  written  by  the  chief  Wits  of  the  age  (viz. 
Mr.  Motteux,  Mr.  De  Foe,  Mr.  Richardson,  &.c. 
and  in  particular,  Mr.  Tate,  now  Poet  Laureat), 
was  pleased  to  honour  us  with  a  poem  directed  to 
the  Athenian  Society. 

Mr.  Swift*',  a  country  gentleman,  sent  an 
Ode  to  the  Athenian  Society ;  which,  being  an 
ingenious  poem,  was  prefixed  to  the  Fifth  Sup- 
plement of  the  ^  Athenian  Mercury.' 

Our  Athenian  Project  not  only  obtained  among 
the  populace,  but  was  well  received  among  the 
politer  part  of  mankind. 

"That  great  and  learned  Nobleman,  the  late 

*  Afterwards  the  celebrated  Dean. 

t  This  Ode  has  since  been  incorporated  in  Swift's  Wei'ks 
and  it  accompanies  this  Advertisement.    See  p.  ix. 


ADVERTISEMENT. 


vii 


Marquis  of  Halifax,  was  once  plear^ed  to  tell 
me,  '  that  he  constantly  perused  oiiv  Mercuries, 
and  had  received  very  great  satisfaction  from  very 
many  of  our  Answers/ 

"  The  late  Sir  William  Temple,  a  man  of  a 
clear  judgment,  and  wonderful  penetration,  was 
pleased  to  honour  me  with  frequent  Letters  and 
Questions,  very  curious  and  uncommon  ;  in  par- 
ticular, that  about  the  Taltsmam^  was  his. 

"  The  Honourable  Sir  Thomas  Pope  Blount, 
when  he  resided  in  town,  has  very  frequently 
sent  for  me  to  his  chamber,  and  given  me  par- 
ticular thanks  for  my  Athenian  Project ;  and, 
the  last  visit  I  made  him,  he  told  me  "  the  Athe- 
nian Society  was  certainly  the  most  useful  and 
informing  design  that  had  ever  been  set  on  foot 
in  England." 

"  Sir  William  Hedges  was  pleased  to  tell  me, 
"  he  was  so  well  pleased  with  the  ^  Athenian 
Mercuries,'  that  he  would  send  several  complete 
sets  into  the  Indies,  to  his  friends;  and  that  he 
thought  the  publick,  and  himself  in  particular,  so 
much  obliged  to  me,  that  I  should  always  be 
welcome  to  his  house;  and  that  he  would  serve  me 
to  the  utmost  with  reference  to  my  trade." 

"  1  could  mention  many  more  honours  that 
were  done  me,  by  Sir  Peter  Pett-^  and  many 

*  Re-printed  in  the  present  Volume,  p.  39*. 

t  A  virtuoso  and  a  great  scholar,  and  Fellow  of  the  Royal 
Society.  He  was  well  accomplished  for  conversation^  because 
of  his  natural  fluency  and  the  fineness  of  his  wit." 


via 


ADVERTISEMENT. 


others,  whose  learning  and  judgment  the  world 
has  little  reason  to  question. 

"  Our  *  Athenian  Mercuries'  were  continued 
till  they  swelled,  at  least,  to  twenty  volumes 
folio ;  and  then  we  took  up,  to  give  ourselves  a 
little  ease,  and  refreshment;  for  the  labours  and 
the  travels  of  the  mind  are  as  expensive,  and 
wear  the  spirits  off  as  fast,  as  those  of  the  body. 
However,  our  Society  was  never  formally  dis- 
solved. 

"  The  old  Athenian  volumes,  a  while  ago, 
growing  quite  out  of  print,  a  choice  collection  of 
the  most  valuable  Questions  and  Answers,  in  three 
volumes,  have  lately  been  re-printed,  and  made 
public  [a  fourth  was  subsequently  added],  under 
the  title  of  "  The  Athenian  Oracle." 

Thus  far  we  have  given  the  history  of  the 
Work  before  the  Reader  in  the  words  of 
honest  John  Dunton,  the  original  Pro- 
jector;  and  it  only  remains  to  add,  that,  In 
the  Selection  now  offered  to  the  Publick, 
there  Is  nothing  that  is  In  the  least  calcu- 
lated to  give  oflFence  to  the  most  chaste  and 
delicate  mind. 


July  10,  1820. 


ODE 

TO 

THE  ATHENIAN  SOCIETY. 


AS  when  the  deluge  first  began  to  fall. 

That  mighty  ebb  never  to  flow  again 
(When  this  great  body's  moisture  was  so  great, 

It  quite  o'ercame  the  vital  heat). 
That  mountain  which  was  highest  first  of  all, 
Appear'd  above  the  universal  main. 
To  bless  the  primitive  Sailor's  weary  sight ! 
And  'twas  perhaps  Parnassus,  if  in  height 

It  be  as  great  as  'tis  in  fame. 

And  nigh  to  Heaven  as  is  its  name  : 
So,  after  th'  inundation  of  war. 
When  learning's  little  household  did  embark 
With  her  world's  fruitful  system  in  her  sacred  ark. 

At  the  first  ebb  of  noise  and  fears. 
Philosophy's  exalted  head  appears ; 
And  the  Dove-Muse  will  now  no  longer  stay. 
But  plumes  her  silver  wings,  and  flies  away  ; 

And  now  a  laurel-wreath  she  brings  from  far. 

To  crown  the  happy  conqueror. 

To  shew  the  flood  begins  to  cease, 
And  brings  the  dear  reward  of  victory  and  peace. 

II. 

The  eager  Muse  took  wing  upon  the  waves  decline, 
When  War  her  cloudy  aspect  just  withdrew. 
When  the  bright  sun  of  peace  began  to  shine, 

And  for  awhile  in  heav'nly  contemplation  sat 
On  the  high  top  of  peaceful  Ararat  j 

And  pluck'd  a  laurel-branch  (for  laurel  was  the  first  that  grew. 

The  first  of  plants  after  the  thunder,  storm,  and  lain),^ 
And  thence,  with  joyful,  nimble  wing. 
Flew  dutifully  back  again, 

And  made  an  humble  chaplet*  for  the  kir.g. 


*  The  Ode  I  writ  to  the  King:  in  Ireland. 


X 


ODE  TO  THE 


And  the  Dove-Muse  is  fled  once  more 
(Glad  of  the  victory,  yet  frighted  at  the  war). 
And  now  discovers  from  afar 
A  peaceful  and  a  flourishing  shore  : 
No  sooner  did  she  land 
On  the  dehi^hiful  strand, 
Than  straight  she  sees  the  country  all  around, 
WTiere  fatal  Neptune  rui'd  erewhile, 
Scatter  d  with  flow'ry  vales,  with  fruitful  gardens  crown'd, 
And  many  a  pleasant  wood  ! 
As  if  the  universal  Nile 
Had  rather  water'd  it  than  drown'd  : 
It  seems  some  floating  piece  of  paradise, 

Preserv'd  by  wonder  from  the  flood. 
Long  vvand'ring  through  the  deep,  as  we  are  told 
Fam'd  Delos  d  d  of  old, 
And  the  transported  Muse  imagin'd  it 
To  be  a  fitter  birth-})lace  for  the  God  of  wit. 
Or  the  much-talk'd  oracular  grove  j 
When  with  amazing  joy  she  hears 
An  unknown  musick  all  around 
Charming  her  greedy  ears 
With  many  a  heavenly  song 
Of  nature  and  of  art,  of  deep  philosophy  and  love. 
Whilst  angels  tune  the  voice  and  God  inspires  the  tongue. 

In  vain  she  catches  at  the  empty  sound, 
In  vain  pursues  the  musick  with  her  longing  eye, 
And  courts  the  wanton  echoes  as  they  fly. 

III. 

Pardon,  ye  great  unknown,  and  far-exalted  men. 
The  wild  excursions  of  a  youthful  pen ; 

Forgive  a  young  and  (almost)  virgin  muse. 

Whom  blind  and  eager  curiosity 
(Yet  curiosity,  they  say. 
Is  in  her  sex  a  crime  needs  no  excuse) 

Has  fore  d  to  grope  her  uncouth  way 
After  a  mighty  light  that  leads  her  vvand'ring  eye. 
No  wonder  then  she  quits  the  narrow  path  of  sense 

For  a  dear  ramble  through  impertinence  3 

Impertinence,  the  scurvy  of  mankind. 
And  all  we  fools,  who  are  the  greater  part  of  it. 

Though  we  be  of  two  different  factions  still. 
Both  the  good  natur'd  and  the  ill. 

Yet  wheresoe'er  you  look,  you'll  always  find 
We  join  like  flies,  and  wasps,  in  buzzing  about  wit. 


ATHENIAN  SOCIETY. 


xi 


In  me,  who  am  of  the  first  sect  of  these. 
All  merit,  that  transcends  the  humble  rules 
Of  my  own  dazzled  scanty  sense. 

Begets  a  kinder  folly  and  impertinence 
Of  admiration  and  of  praise. 

And  our  good  brethren  of  the  surly  sect 

Must  e'en  all  herd  us  with  their  kindred  fools : 

For  though,  possess'd  of  present  vogue,  they've  made 

Railing  a  rule  of  wit,  and  obloquy  a  trade  ; 

Yet  the  same  want  of  brains  produces  each  effect. 
And  you  whom  Pluto's  helm  does  wisely  shroud 

From  us  the  blind  and  thoughtless  crowd. 
Like  the  fam'd  Hero  in  his  mother's  cloud. 

Who  both  our  follies  and  impertinencies  see. 

Do  laugh  perhaps  at  theirs,  and  pity  mine  and  me* 

IV. 

But  censure's  to  be  understood 
Th'  authentic  mark  of  the  elect. 
The  public  stamp  Heav'n  sets  on  all  that's  great  and  good 
Our  shallow  search  and  judgment  to  direct. 
The  war  methinks  has  made 
Our  wit  and  learning  narrow  as  our  trade  : 
Instead  of  sailing  boldly  far  to  buy 
A  stock  of  wisdom  and  philosophy. 

We  fondly  stay  at  home,  in  fear 
Of  ev'ry  censuring  privateer; 
Forcing  a  wretched  trade  by  beating  down  the  sale^ 
And  selling  basely  by  retail. 
The  Wits,  J  mean  the  atheists  of  the  age. 
Who  fain  would  rule  the  pulpit  as  they  do  the  stage  5 
Wond'rous  refiners  of  philosophy. 
Of  morals  and  divinity. 
By  the  new  modish  system  of  reducing  all  to  sense, 
Against  all  logick  and  concluding  laws. 
Do  own  th'efFects  of  Providence, 
And  yet  deny  the  cause. 


V. 

This  hopeful  sect,  now  it  begins  to  see 
How  little,  very  little  do  prevail 

Their  first  and  chiefest  force 
To  censure,  to  cry  down,  and  rail. 
Not  knowing  what,  or  where,  or  whom  you  !)e. 


Xll 


ODE  TO  THE 


Will  quickly  take  another  course  : 

And,  by  their  never-failing  ways 
Of  solving  all  appearances  they  please, 
We  soon  shall  see  them  to  their  ancient  methods  fall> 
And  straight  deny  you  to  be  men,  or  any  thing  at  all. 

I  laugh  at  the  grave  answer  they  will  make. 
Which  they  have  always  ready,  general  and  cheap: 
'Tis  but  to  say,  that  what  we  daily  meet. 
And  by  a  fond  mistake 
Perhaps  imagine  to  be  wond'rous  wit. 
And  think,  alas  !  to  be  by  mortals  writ. 
Is  but  a  croud  of  atoms  justling  in  a  heap. 

Which  from  eternal  seeds  begun, 
Justling  some  thousand  years  till  ripen'd  by  the  sun  j 
They're  now,  just  now,  as  naturally  born. 
As  from  the  womb  of  earth  a  field  of  corn. 


VI. 

But  as  for  poor  contented  me. 
Who  must  my  weakness  and  my  ignorance  confess. 
That  I  believe  in  much  I  ne'er  can  hope  to  see 
Methinks  I'm  satisfy'd  to  guess. 
That  this  new,  noble,  and  dehghtful  scene, 
Is  wonderfully  mov'd  by  some  exalted  men. 

Who  have  well  studied  in  the  world's  disease 
(That  epidemic  error  and  depravity. 

Or  in  our  judgment  or  our  eye). 
That  what  surprizes  us  can  only  please. 
We  often  search  contentedly  the  whole  world  round 
To  make  some  great  discovery. 
And  scorn  it  when  'tis  foimd. 
Just  so  the  mighty  Nile  has  suffer'd  in  its  fame. 

Because  'tis  eaid  (and  perhaps  only  said) 
We've  found  a  little  inconsiderable  head, 

That  feeds  the  huge  unequal  stream. 
Consider  hun)an  folly,  and  you'll  quickly  own. 

That  all  the  praises  it  can  give, 
By  which  some  fondly  boast  they  shall  for  ever  live. 
Won't  pay  th'impertinence  of  being  known  : 
Else  why  should  the  fam'd  Lydian  King, 
Whom  all  the  charms  of  an  usurped  wife  and  state. 
With  all  that  power  unfelt,  courts  mankind  to  be  great. 

Did  with  new  unexperienc'd  glories  wait. 
Still  wear^  still  doat  on  his  invi-jihle  ring  ^ 


ATHENIAN  SOCIETY. 


xiii 


VII. 

Were  I  to  form  a  regular  thought  of  fame. 
Which  is  perhaps  as  hard  t'imagine  right 
As  to  paint  Echo  to  the  sight  j 
1  would  not  draw  th'  idea  from  an  empty  name  j 
^    Because,  alas  !  when  we  all  die. 
Careless  and  ignorant  posterity, 
Although  they  praise  the  learning  and  the  wit. 

And  though  the  title  seems  to  show 
The  name  and  man  by  whom  the  book  was  writ. 
Yet  how  shall  they  be  brought  to  know" 
Whether  that  very  name  was  he,  or  you,  or  I  ? 
Less  should  I  daub  it  o'er  with  transitory  praise. 

And  water-colours  of  these  days: 
These  days,  where  e'en  th'  exti  avagance  of  poetry 
Is  at  a  loss  for  figures  to  express 
Men's  follies,  whimsies,  and  inconstancy. 
And  by  a  faint  description  makes  them  less. 
Then  tell  us  what  is  fame,  where  shall  we  search  for  it  ? 
Look  where  exalted  Virtue  and  Religion  sit 
Enthron'd  with  heav'nly  wit. 
Look  where  you  see 
The  greatest  scorn  of  learned  vanity 
(And  then  how  much  a  nothing  is  mankind  ! 
Whose  reason  is  weigh'd  down  by  popular  air. 
Who  by  that,  vainly  talk  of  baffling  death 5 
And  hopes  to  lengthen  life  by  a  transfusion  of  breath, 

Which  yet  whoe'er  examines  right  will  find 
To  be  an  art  as  vain  as  bottling  up  of  wind)  : 
And  when  you  find  out  these,  believe  true  fame  is  there, 
Far  above  all  reward,  yet  to  which  all  is  due  5 
And  this,  ye  great  unknown,  is  only  known  in  you. 


VIII. 

The  juggling  sea-god,  when  by  chance  trepanned 
By  some  instructed  querist  sleeping  on  the  sand. 
Impatient  of  all  answers,  strait  became 
A  stealing  brook,  and  strove  to  creep  away 

Into  his  native  sea, 
Vext  at  their  follies,  murmur'd  in  his  stream  ; 
But,  disappointed  of  his  fond  desire. 
Would  vanish  in  a  pyramid  of  fire. 


xiv 


ODE  TO  THE 


This  surly  slipp'ry  God,  when  he  design'd 
To  furnish  his  escapes. 

Ne'er  borrow'd  more  variety  of  shapes 

Than  you  to  please  and  satisfy  mankind, 
And  seem  (ahuost)  transform'd  to  water,  flame,  and  air^ 

So  well  you  answer  all  })haenomena's  there  : 
Though  madmen  and  the  wits,  philosophers  and  fools. 
With  all  that  factious  or  enthusiastic  dotards  dream. 
And  all  the  incoherent  jargon  of  the  schools  ; 

Though  all  the  fumes  of  fear,  hope,  love,  and  shame. 
Contrive  to  shock  your  minds  with  many  a  senseless  doubt ; 
Doubts  where  the  Delphic  God  would  grope  in  ignorance  and 
night. 

The  God  of  learning  and  of  light 
Would  want  a  God*  himself  to  help  him  out. 


IX. 

Philosophy,  as  it  before  us  lies. 
Seems  to  have  borrow'd  some  ungrateful  tastt 
Of  doubts,  impertinencies,  and  niceties. 
From  every  age  through  which  it  pass'd. 
But  always  with  a  stronger  relish  of  the  last. 
This  beauteous  queen,  by  Heav'en  designed 
To  be  the  great  original 
For  man  to  dress  and  polish  his  uncourtly  mind. 
In  what  mock  habits  have  they  put  her  since  the  Fall ! 
More  oft  in  fools  and  madmens'  hands  than  sages. 
She  seems  a  medley  of  all  ages. 
With  a  huge  fardingale  to  swell  her  fustian  stuff, 
A  new  commode,  a  top-knot,  and  a  ruff, 
Her  face  patch'd  o'er  with  modern  pedantry. 
With  a  long  sweeping  train 
Of  comments  and  disputes,  ridiculous  and  vain. 
All  of  old  cut  with  a  new  dye  : 
How  soon  have  you  restored  her  charms 
And  rid  her  of  her  lumber  and  her  books, 
Drest  her  again  genteel  and  neat. 
And  rather  tight  than  great ! 
How  fond  we  are  to  court  her  to  our  arms  ! 
How  much  of  Heav'n  is  in  her  naked  looks  I 


ATHENIAN  SOCIETY. 


XV 


X. 

Thus  the  deluding  Muse  oft  blinds  me  to  her  ways. 
And  ev'n  my  very  thoughts  transfers 
And  changes  all  to  beauty,  and  the  praise 
Of  that  proud  tvrant  sex  of  hers. 
The  rebel  Muse,  alas!  takes  part 
But  with  my  own  rebellious  heart. 
And  you  with  fatal  and  immortal  wit  conspire 
To  fan  th"  unhappy  fire. 
Cruel  unknown  /  what  is  it  you  intend  ? 
Ah  !  could  you,  could  you  ho})e  a  poet  for  your  friend  ! 

Rather  forgive  what  my  first  transport  said  : 
May  all  the  blood,  which  shall  by  woman's  scorn  be  shed. 

Lie  upon  you  and  on  your  children's  head  ! 
For  you  (aii !  did  I  think  I  e'er  should  live  to  see 
The  fatal  time  when  that  could  be  !) 
Have  e'en  increas'd  their  pride  and  cruelty. 
Woman  seems  now  above  all  vanity  grown, 
Still  boasting  of  a  great  unknown 
Platonic  champions,  gain'd  without  one  female  wile. 
Or  the  \ast  charges  of  a  smile  ; 
Which  'tis  a  shame  how  much  of  late 
You've  taught  the  cov'tous  wretches  to  o'er-rate. 
And  which  they've  now  the  consciences  to  weigh 
In  the  same  balance  with  our  tears. 
And  with  such  scanty  wages  pay 
The  bondage  and  the  slavery  of  years. 
Let  the  vain  sex  dream  on,  their  empire  comes  from  us. 
And  had  they  common  generosity 
They  would  not  use  us  thus  : 

Well  though  youv'e  rais'd  her  to  this  high  degree. 

Ourselves  ai  e  rais'd  as  well  as  she ; 
And  spite  of  all  that  they  or  you  can  do, 
* Tis  pride  and  happiness  enough  to  me 
Still  to  be  of  the  §ame  exalted  sex  with  you. 


XI. 

Alas  !  how  fleeting  and  how  vain. 
If  even  the  nobler  man,  our  learning  and  our  wit ! 
I  sigh  when'er  1  think  of  it  : 
As  at  the  closing  of  an  unhappy  scene 


XVI 


ODE  TO  THE 


Of  some  great  king  and  conqu'ror's  death. 
When  the  sad  melancholy  Muse 
Stays  but  to  catch  his  utmost  breath. 
I  grieve  this  nobler  work  most  happily  begun. 
So  quickly  and  so  wonderfully  carry'd  on. 
May  fall  at  last  to  interest,  folly,  and  abuse. 
There  is  a  noon-tide  in  our  lives. 
Which  still  the  sooner  it  arrives. 
Although  we  boast  our  winter-sun  looks  bright. 
And  foolishly  are  glad  to  see  it  at  its  height. 
Yet  so  much  sooner  comes  the  long  and  gloomy  night. 

No  conquest  ever  yet  begun. 
And  by  one  mighty  hero  carried  to  its  height. 
E'er  flourish 'd  under  a  successor  or  a  son  3 
It  lost  some  mighty  pieces  through  all  hands  it  past. 
And  vanish'd  to  an  empty  title  in  the  last. 
For  when  the  animating  mind  is  fled, 
(Which  nature  never  can  retain, 
Nor  e'er  call  back  again) 
The  body,  though  gigantic,  lies  all  cold  and  dead. 

XII. 

And  thus  undoubtedly  'twill  fare 
With  what  unhappy  men  shall  dare 
To  be  successors  to  these  great  unknown. 
On  Learning's  high-established  throne. 
Censure,  and  pedantry,  and  pride, 
Numberless  nations,  stretching  far  and  wide. 
Shall  (I  foresee  it)  soon  with  Gothic  swarms  come  forth 

From  Ignorance's  universal  North, 
And  with  blind  rage  break  all  this  peaceful  government : 
Yet  shall  these  traces  of  5'our  wit  remain. 
Like  a  just  map,  to  tell  the  vast  extent 
Of  conquest  in  your  short  and  happy  reign  j 
And  to  all  future  mankind  shew 
How  strange  a  paradox  is  true, 
That  men  who  liv'd  and  dy'd  without  a  name. 
Are  the  chief  heroes  in  the  sacred  list  of  fame. 


THE 

9lt|)eman  ((Oracle. 


PART  L 


QUESTIONS  AND  ANSWERS 

IN 

HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


Question,  —  What  are  the  Clouds  ?  and  where 
are  they  when  the  air  is  clear  ? 

Answer. — The  clouds  are  of  two  sorts  ;  one  an 
exhalation  of  water,  the  other  of  a  more  terrestrial 
matter;  but  where  such  are,  when  the  air  is  clear, 
seems  more  difficult,  though  not  an  impossibility, 
to  resolve.  Suppose,  then,  a  room,  through  which 
there  are  some  chinks  for  the  rays  of  the  sun  to 
enter — if  you  look  upon  those  rays,  you  may  plainly 
discern  the  innumerable  atoms  which  dance  in 

B 


2  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

the  air;  — but  if  you  go  out  to  look  for  them  in 
the  air,  where  the  whole  body  of  the  sun  has  its 
effect,  there  is  not  an  atom  to  be  seen,  though 
there  are  atoms  there  also.  From  this  instance  it 
appears,  that  the  truest  representation  of  light  is 
when  a  darker  body  is  near;  for  no  man  can  judge 
of  light  without  darkness,  nor  of  motion  without 
something  fixed ;  now  the  clouds  being  rarified 
through  an  excessive  heat,  or  drawn  up  a  great 
distance  from  the  earth,  are  invisible  to  us,  and 
appear  like  air,  through  the  abundance  of  light, 
without  commixture  of  darkness,  which  propor- 
tionably  contracts  our  optic  nerves ;  this  is  evi- 
dent ;  for,  after  the  clearest  and  hottest  day,  when 
the  element  begins  to  be  a  little  darkened 
through  the  approaching  night,  the  clouds  be- 
come visible,  and  we  see  that  which  too  much 
light  prevented  before. 

Quest, — What  is  Melancholy,  its  symptoms, 
causes,  and  cure  ? 

Am, — A  raving  without  fever  or  fury,  with 
fear  and  sadness ;  it  is  seated  in  the  brain  and 
heart :  the  disaffection  of  one  makes  persons 
rave,  of  the  other  renders  them  sad  or  fearful ; 
the  fancy  is  always  busy,  for  the  most  part  intent 
upon  one  thing,  and  the  ideas  appear  improper, 
distorted,  and  horrid  ;  the  juices  of  the  body  con- 
tracting an  acid  and  corrosive  disposition,  and 
thereby  throwing  all  things  out  of  order.  The 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  3 

vital  spirits  grow  dull  and  languid,  and  the  blood 
little  less  than  stagnates  about  the  heart.  The 
effects  thereof  we  may  see  in  Bedlam  every  day  ; 
they  are  as  various  as  the  freaks  of  the  unguided 
fancy,  which  are  almost  infinite,  or  as  the  parti- 
cular causes  thereof,  jealousy,  superstition,  love, 
despair,  and  sometimes  even  a  violent  fit  of  pas- 
sion or  anger,  which  is  in  one  degree  beyond  me- 
lancholy, even  a  short  madness.  All  the  cure 
that  belongs  to  us  to  prescribe  is  diversion,  which 
reaches  both  cases.  If  the  brain  be  affected  with 
deep  thinking  on  one  particular  object,  turn  the 
stream,  if  possible,  to  something  else:  —  flatter, 
humour,  or  do  what  you  can  for  the  same  end. 
For  sadness,  or  a  deep  sullen  temper,  fear  is  the 
best  cure,  which  rouses  the  mind,  and,  if  not  car- 
ried too  high,  sets  the  lazy  spirits  to  work  to 
throw  off  the  impending  evil,  and  thereby  assists 
Fature  in  what  else  she  has  to  do. 


Quest. — A  lady  desires  to  know  whether  Fleas 
have  stings,  or  whether  they  only  suck  or  bite, 
when  they  draw  blood  from  the  body  ? 

Ans, — Not  to  trouble  you.  Madam,  with  the  He- 
brew or  Arabic  name  of  a  flea,  or  to  transcribe 
Bocharfs  learned  dissertations  on  the  little  animal, 
we  shall,  for  your  satisfaction,  give  such  a  descrip- 
tion thereof  as  we  have  yet  been  able  to  discover. 

Its  skin  is  of  a  lovely  deep  red  colour,  most 
neatly  polished,  and  armed  with  scales,  which  can 

II  2 


4 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


resist  any  thing  but  fate  and  your  ladyships  un- 
merciful fingers  ;  the  neck  of  it  is  exactly  Hke  the 
tail  of  a  lobster,  and,  by  the  assistance  of  those 
strong  scales  it  is  covered  with,  springs  backwards 
and  forwards  much  in  the  same  manner,  and  with 
equal  violence ;  it  has  two  eyes  on  each  side  of 
its  head,  so  pretty,  that  I  would  prefer  them  to 
any.  Madam,  but  yours  ;  and  which  it  makes  use 
of  to  avoid  its  fate,  and  fly  its  enemies,  with  as 
much  nimbleness  and  success  as  your  sex  manage 
those  fatal  weapons,  lovely  basilisks  as  you  are, 
for  the  ruin  of  your  adorers.  Nature  has  pro- 
vided it  six  substantial  legs,  of  great  strength, 
and  incomparable  agility  jointed  like  a  cane,  co- 
vered with  large  hairs,  and  armed  each  of  them 
with  two  claws,  which  appear  of  a  horny  sub- 
stance, more  sharp  than  lancets,  or  the  finest 
needle  you  have  in  all  your  needle-book.  It  was 
a  long  while  before  we  could  discover  its  mouth, 
which,  we  confess,  we  have  not  yet  so  exactly 
done  as  we  could  wish,  the  little  bashful  creature 
always  holding  up  its  two  fore  feet  before  it, 
which  it  uses  instead  of  a  fan,  or  mask,  when  it  has 
no  mind  to  be  known  ;  and  we  were  forced  to  be 
guilty  of  an  act  both  uncivil  and  cruel,  without 
which  we  could  never  have  resolved  your  ques- 
tion. We  were  obliged  to  unmask  this  modest 
one,  and  cut  off  its  two  fore  legs  to  get  to  the  face; 
which  being  performed,  though  it  makes  our  ten- 
der hearts  as  well  as  yours  almost  bleed  to  think 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


5 


of  it,  we  immediately  discovered  what  your  Lady- 
sliip  desired,  and  found  Nature  had  given  it  a 
strong  proboscis,  or  trunk,  as  a  gnat  or  muschetto, 
though  much  thicker  and  stouter,  with  which  we 
may  very  well  suppose  it  penetrates  your  fair 
hand,  feasts  itself  on  the  nectar  of  your  blood, 
and  then,  Hke  a  Httle  faithless  fugitive  of  a  lover, 
skips  away,  almost  invisibly,  nobody  knows  whi- 
ther. 


Quest.  —  What  are  the  utmost  effects  of  Joy, 
and  how  does  it  operate  on  the  affections  ? 

Ans.  —  Sudden  Joy  kills,  as  well  as  sudden 
Grief.  Diagoras  Rhodius,  hearing  his  three  sons 
were  victorious  at  the  Olympic  games  in  one  day, 
died  immediately  in  that  transport  of  joy  ;  and  so 
did  Dionysius,  Sophocles,  and  Phillipides,  upon 
winning  the  bays  from  other  stage-players :  and, 
what  is  more  astonishing,  Zeuxis,  that  famous 
painter,  having  made  the  portraiture  of  an  old 
woman  very  oddly,  died  with  laughing  at  it. 
Grief  destroys  a  man  by  a  violent  agitation  of  the 
spirits,  and  sudden  condensation  again,  whereby 
they  are  too  much  pressed,  their  avenues  ob- 
structed, and  their  intercourse  with  the  air  hin- 
dered ;  so  that  the  heart,  wanting  respiration,  is 
stifled.  Joy  produces  the  same  effect  from  con- 
trary causes,  namely,  by  a  too  great  dilatation  of 
the  spirits :  they  who  die  for  joy  are  of  a  sanguine, 
?oft,  and  rare  contexture;  so  that  when  this  dila- 


6 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


tatioQ  of  spirits  happens,  they  leave  the  heart 
destitute  of  succour ;  and  the  ventricles  closing 
together,  they  perish  under  the  passion. 

Quest, — What  Nation  invented  Painting  ? 

^ns. — Some  have  been  of  opinion  that  the  off- 
spring of  Abraham  that  went  into  Egypt  w^ere  the 
first,  and  that  they  taught  it  to  the  Egyptians : 
but  it  is  more  universally  believed ;  that  the 
Egyptians  were  the  first  painters,  statuaries,  and 
philosophers,  and  that  Greece  brought  painting 
to  perfection ;  but  what  part  of  Greece  is  yet 
doubted.  Some  would  assign  it  to  Sicyones, 
others  to  Corinth,  where,  by  drawing  lines  round 
the  extremities  of  a  man,  was  rudely  made  the 
first  step  to  picture.  The  Greeks  began  with  one 
colour,  and  by  degrees  brought  it  to  the  perfec- 
tion which  we  find  in  the  days  of  Apelles.  From 
Greece  it  went  to  Rome,  where  it  was  almost  lost 
again  by  the  inundations  of  the  Huns,  Vandals, 
Goths,  and  Lombards ;  but  was  restored  after- 
wards by  Titian,  Raphael,  Urbin,  Angelo,  &c. 

Although  it  be  the  opinion  of  a  late  author 
that  the  Egyptians  were  the  first  painters  ;  yet 
we  find  the  most  ancient  writers  deny  it :  though 
in  assigning  the  place  they  disagree  amongst 
themselves.  Pliny  would  persuade  us  that  one 
Gyges,  a  Lydian,  was  the  very  first  author.  Theo- 
phrastus  would  have  one  Polignotus,  an  Athe- 
nian, to  be  the  institutor  thereof.   But  Pliny  says. 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  ^ 

that  Polignotus  was  a  Thalian,  and  was  the  first 
that  painted  women  in  single  apparel,  and  trim- 
med their  heads  with  cauls  and  sundry  colours. 
And  it  is  very  probable  that  Pliny  was  right, 
since  painting  with  divers  colours  was  not  prac- 
tised for  a  considerable  time  after  the  first  inven- 
tion ;  Cleophantus  of  Corinth  being  the  first  au- 
thor of  divers  colours,  as  Telephanes  was  the  first 
that  drew  with  one  colour  only  :  so  that  after  all 
a  full  answer  to  the  question  cannot  be  given, 
since  the  ancients  themselves  disagree  about  it  in 
their  assertions. 

Quest, — How  is  the  fire  made  betwixt  the  flint 
and  the  steel  ? 

Ans. — Mr.  Hook,  in  his  microscopic  experi- 
ments, has  put  the  question  out  of  all  doubt. 
Taking  a  steel  and  flint,  and  examining  by  a 
microscope  the  scintillations  that  fell  upon  a 
piece  of  white  paper,  he  first  thought  them  to  be 
small  globulous  pieces  of  melted  steel,  or  little 
particles  of  red  hot  flint;  but,  upon  further  search, 
he  really  found  that  those  little  red  particles  that 
fell  were  vitrifications  of  the  flint  and  steel. 


Question. — Tell  me,  ye  learned  heads,  if  such  there  be. 
Nature's  profound  and  secret  mystery  : 

1.  How  this  vast  Orb  on  unseen  axles  turns  ? 

2.  And  unconsumed  the  Sun  for  ever  burns  ? 

3.  What  unknown  power  gives  its  heat  such  force. 
Orders  its  motion,  and  directs  its  course  ? 


8 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


4.  How  angry  tempests  drive  the  seas  to  shore. 

Beat  the  vast  swelling  waves,  and  make  them  roar  ? 

5.  When  waves,  like  mighty  islands,  rise  and  swell, 
How  fish  beneath  those  moving  mountains  dwell  ? 

6.  Why  servile  springs  do  constant  tribute  pay 
Unto  their  arbitrary  monarch,  sea  ? 

7.  How  in  the  hidden  space  of  Fate's  dark  womb 
Things  are  at  present  laid  that  are  to  come  ? 

8.  Next  the  mysterious  births  of  flowers  disclose, 
From  the  field-daisy  to  the  garden-rose  ? 

9.  Why  such  a  painted  coat  the  tulip  wears  ? 
And  why  in  red  the  blushing  rose  appears  ? 

10.  Why  clad  in  white,  the  innocent  lily's  seen  ? 

1 1.  And  how  the  scent  comes  from  the  jessamine  ? 

12.  Why  humble  strawber  ries  creep  along  the  ground  ? 
:|3.  And  why  the  apple  struts,  and  looks  so  round  ? 

14.  Why  ivy  clings  to  the  oak's  hardened  waste  ? 

15.  And  why  the  elm  by  the  loving  vine's  embraced  ? 

16.  Why  Nature  did  for  fishes  scales  prepare  ? 

17.  And  clothes  some  beasts  in  wool,  and  some  in  hair  ^ 

18.  Why  golden  feathers  do  the  fowls  adorn  ? 

19.  And  why  they  chirp  and  sing  beneath  the  morn  ? 

20.  And  why  all  these  are  destined  to  maintain 
The  sovereign  lord  of  all  the  creatures,  Man  ? 

Answer. — Dear  friend  unknown,  we  thus  reply  to  thee. 
And  thy  profound  mysterious  mystery  : 

1.  As  moved  at  first  by  its  great  Maker's  troll. 
It  perseveres  i*  th'  same  eternal  roll. 

2.  Vast  unexhausted  vulcans  it  compose. 

Or  fume  turns  fire,  and  as  it  burns  it  grows. 

3.  That  Power  which  decked  with  light  the  world's  first 

morn. 

Before  the  stars,  or  Sun  itself,  was  born ; 

4.  Or  streams  that  rushed  from  subterranean  caves, 
Or  air  compressed,  thus  vex  the  struggling  waves. 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


9 


5.  As  worms  i'  th'  earth  when  by  fierce  whirlwinds  rent. 
For  nothing's  press'd  in  its  own  element. 

6.  Less  will  to  more,  as  small  to  a  greater  fire  j 

The  lower  wave  slides  on,  still  pressed  by  the  higher. 

7.  What's  yet  to  come  is  not,  'tis  nothing  then. 
And  nothing  can  have  neither  how  nor  when. 

8.  Your  pardon.  Sir  :  through  half  should  we  but  run. 
The  nurses  midwifery  should  ne'er  be  done. 

9.  From  mingled  lights,  so  gay  the  tulip  shows. 
Or  salts  commix'd ;  from  uniform,  the  rose. 

10.  This  drinks  not  in,  but  outwards  beats  the  beams  3 

11.  That  spends  its  sweets  in  odoriferous  streams. 

12.  Their  legs  are  short  and  weak,  their  stature  low ; 
And  those  must  creep  that  cannot  stand  or  go. 

13.  With  a  long  waist,  long  shanks,  and  lofty  crest  j 
What  wonder  if  it  overlooks  the  rest  ?  ^ 

14.  Why  do  the  faint  and  weak  supporters  chuse } 

15.  And  tell  me  why  do  cripples  crutches  use  ? 

16.  Them  mother  Nature  did  with  scales  supply. 
As  coats  of  mail,  to  guard  the  watery  fry. 

17.  Degrees  of  heat  bring  curls,  or  else  abate. 
As  in  our  hair,  and  Negro's  woolly  pate. 

18.  From  different  texture  different  colours  fall ; 

19.  Birds  love  the  morn,  because  they're  poets  all. 

20.  Who  else  deserves  their  homage  and  esteem  ? 

If  he's  their  lord,  whom  should  they  serve  but  him  ? 


Quest. — Why  are  Osiers  smooth  one  year,  and 
rough  another,  successively  ? 

j4ns, — It  is  a  mistake;  they  are  only  smooth  the 
first  year,  and  every  succeeding  year  grow  rougher, 
by  reason  that  the  spring  affords  new  juice  for  a 
new  formation. 


10  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

Quest. — Whence  have  we  our  Opium  ?  Whe- 
ther is  it  hot  or  cold?  If  hot,  why  narcotic  or 
stupefying;  if  cold,  why  sudorific  or  procuring 
sweat?  Let  it  be  what  it  will,  how  comes|it  to  have 
that  deference  for  those  animal  spirits  which  are 
requii«ed  for  the  motion  of  the  heart  and  for  respi- 
ration, as  very  often  to  spare  them,  while  it  seizes 
the  others  that  communicate  with  the  organs  of 
the  external  senses  ? 

Ans. — Opium  is  the  tear  that  distils  from  pop- 
pies, which  at  certain  times  in  the  year  have  inci- 
sions made  in  them  for  that  end.    We  have  it 
from  Greece,  Cabaia  in  the  East  Indies,  and 
Grand  Cairo  in  Egypt.    No  one  has  ever  asked, 
whether  opium  be  hot  or  cold  ;  for  some  ages  the 
opinion  of  the  antients  about  its  being  cold  having 
been  for  a  long  time  exploded,  since  upon  expe- 
riment it  is  found  to  be  inflammable,  bitter,  and 
sulphureous  ;  and  of  all  narcotics  it  has  the  finest 
sulphur;  that  of  hembane  and  hemlock  being 
more  impure,  gross,  and  injurious.  Opium  is  pri- 
marily hypnotic,  whereas  other  anodyne  sulphurs 
are  so  but  by  accident,  as  that  of  metals,  minerals, 
and  that  which  lodges  in  native  cinnabar.  The 
reason  why  treacle  and  mithridate  provoke  sweat 
is  from  the  opium  that  is  in  them.  Narcotics 
have  in  them  a  volatile  salt,  as  opium  and  saffron, 
from  whence  arises  the  proper  reason  of  their  re- 
solution in  the  stomach  when  given  in  emulsions, 
spirit  of  wine,  or  brandy.    The  salt  is  left  behind, 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  11 

whilst  the  sulphureous  effluvia  are  conveyed  to, 
and  circulate  with  the  blood.  It  particularly 
affects  the  nervous  parts,  and  acts  both  by 
demulcing,  digesting,  nfiollifying,  &c. ;  as  also 
by  stupefying  or  fixing  the  animal  spirits,  by 
stopping  their  small  passages  to  the  brain,  as 
also  their  influx  into  the  nerves,  whereby  the 
archeus  of  Nature  becomes  lax,  inactive,  and 
drowsy.  The  reason  why  it  affects  not  those 
spirits  which  serve  for  respiration,  pulsation, 
and  the  motion  of  the  heart,  while  the  others 
are  stagnated,  is  because  the  dose  usually  pre- 
scribed is  but  barely  sufficient  to  affect  the  first 
small  passages  it  meets  with,  and  so  stupefies  the 
senses  ;  whereas  a  large  dose  would  reach  to  the 
cerebellum,  where  the  par  octavura  has  it  rise, 
the  dependant  channel  of  which  being  obstructed, 
there  ensues  a  universal  narcosis,  or  stupefaction, 
and  by  consequence  death. 

Quest. — What  is  the  original  cause  of  the 
Gout  ? 

Ans, — ^The  Gout  is  the  product  of  excess  and 
irregularities,  especially  in  drinking  some  French 
wines,  and  other  sorts  of  liquors  that  are  saline 
and  acid ;  which  appears  by  their  settling,  or  tar- 
tar, in  casks.  This  salsitude  and  sharpness  causes 
a  pungency  and  pains  in  making  its  way  to  the 
pores  where  Nature  would  eject  it,  and  it  has 
often  been  known  to  break  out  in  the  finger  ends, 


12 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


in  a  dry  chalky  or  limy  substance.  It  is  some- 
times hereditary,  and  something  like  it  is  caused 
by  excessive  heats  and  colds.  A  lady,  who  for 
thirty  years  scarcely  used  her  hands  by  reason  of 
the  gout,  being  reduced  by  misfortune  to  a  mean 
condition  and  an  abstemious  diet,  was  quite  de- 
serted by  the  companion  of  her  excesses. 

Quest, — How  is  the  Dew  produced  ? 

ylns. — It  differs  from  rain  and  snow  in  this, 
namely,  the  matter  of  the  rain  and  the  snow  are 
the  attractions  of  many  days  into  the  middle  re- 
gion of  air,  which  is  much  more  ample  and  vast 
than  the  inferior,  in  which  the  dew  is  ingendered 
from  a  few  vapours  attracted  in  the  space  of  one 
night,  which,  for  want  of  heat,  cannot  ascend  very 
high,  but  falls  again  upon  the  nap  of  herbs  and 
leaves  of  trees  like  unto  little  pearls ;  and  this  is 
that  which  is  called  dew  :  this  occurs  in  the  most 
temperate  seasons  of  the  year ;  for  when  it  is  very 
hot  there  can  be  no  dew,  because  the  matter  be- 
ing heated,  it  easily  ascends  on  high,  or  else  it  is 
easily  dissipated  by  the  heat.  And  if  the  weather 
be  cold  this  dew  is  congealed,  and  condensed,  and 
from  thence  is  made  that  which  we  call  the  hoary 
frost. 


Quest, — ^Wherefore  is  it  that,  having  two  eyes, 
we  see  nevertheless  but  one  kind,  or  image,  of  the 
objects  ? 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


13 


Ans, — Even  so  for  having  two  ears  no  more 
than  one  and  the  same  sound  is  heard,  the  origin 
of  their  motion  being  the  same,  for  these  two  or- 
gans make  but  one  sense  ;  but  yet  provident  Na- 
ture has  been  pleased  that  one  and  the  same  sense 
should  have  two  instruments,  to  the  end  that,  if 
one  should  be  taken  from  us,  the  other  might  sup- 
ply the  defect  thereof. 

Qwe^^.— What  is  Death  ? 

Ans,  —  Not  to  be,  and  to  cease  to  be,  is  much 
the  same;  it  sometimes  happens,  that  the  more 
common  a  thing  is,  the  more  difficult  it  is  to  ex- 
plain it,  as  in  many  sensible  objects.  Nothing  is 
more  easy  than  to  discriminate  life  and  death, 
and  yet  to  explain  the  nature  of  both  is  a  severe 
task,  because  the  union  or  disunion  of  a  most 
perfect  form  with  its  matter  is  inexplicable.  How- 
ever, we  shall  offer  those  things  that  have  given 
us  the  greatest  satisfaction  in  our  inquiries.  — 
Death,  or  a  cessation  of  doing  and  suffering,  is 
generally  agreed  to  be  the  greatest  evil  in  Nature, 
because  it  is  a  destruction  of  Nature  itself ;  but  why 
it  should  be  represented  so  terrible,  is  as  great  a 
paradox  as  a  certain  knowledge  of  what  death 
really  is.  This  is  the  common  plea  of  mortals  ; 
here  we  know%  and  are  known,  and  all  the  enter- 
prizes  we  take  in  hand, — we  have  the  satisfaction 
of  reflection,  and  a  review  when  they  are  past; 
but  dying  deprives  us  of  knowing  what  we  are 


14 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


doing,  or  what  other  state  we  are  commencing. 
It  is  a  leap  in  the  dark,  not  knowing  where  we 
shall  light.  But  this  is  a  weakness,  which,  as  it 
makes  men  anticipate  their  misery,  so  it  enlarges 
it  too.  We  look  upon  Nature  with  our  eyes,  not 
with  our  reason,  or  we  should  find  a  certain 
sweetness  in  mortality,  for  that  can  be  no  loss 
which  can  never  be  missed  or  desired  again.  As 
Caligula  passed  by,  an  old  man  requested  him 
that  he  might  be  put  to  death.  Why,  says  the 
Emperor,  are  you  not  already  dead  ?  There  is 
something  in  death,  sometimes  at  least,  that  is 
desirable  by  wise  men,  who  know  it  is  one  of  the 
duties  of  life  to  die,  and  that  life  would  be  a  sla- 
very if  the  power  of  death  were  taken  away.  We 
had  the  curiosity  to  visit  two  certain  persons ;  one 
had  been  hanged,  and  the  other  drowned,  and 
both  of  them  very  miraculously  brought  to  life 
again  ;  —  we  asked  what  thoughts  they  had,  and 
what  pains  they  were  sensible  of?  The  person 
that  was  hanged  said,  he  expected  some  sort  of  a 
strange  change,  but  knew  not  what ;  but  the  pangs 
of  death  were  not  so  intolerable  as  some  sharp 
diseases;  nay,  he  could  not  be  positive  whether 
he  felt  any  other  pain  than  what  his  fears  created. 
He  added,  that  he  grew  senseless  by  little  and  lit- 
tle, and  at  the  first  his  eyes  represented  a  brisk 
shining  red  sort  of  fire,  which  grew  paler  and 
paler,  till  at  length  it  turned  into  a  black,  after 
which  he  thought  no  more,  but  insensibly  acted 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHV. 


15 


the  part  of  one  that  falls  asleep,  not  knowing  how 
or  when.  The  other  gave  almost  the  same  ac- 
count ;  and  both  w©re  dead,  apparently,  for  a  con- 
siderable time.  These  instances  are  very  satisfac- 
tory in  cases  of  violent  death,  and  for  a  natural 
death  I  cannot  but  think  it  yet  much  easier. 
Diseases  make  conquest  of  life  by  little  and  little, 
therefore  the  strife  must  be  less  where  the  inequa- 
lity of  power  is  greater. 

Quest. — What  is  Individuation;  or  wherein 
consists  the  Individuality  of  a  thing  ? 

Ans,  —  Individuation  is  the  unity  of  a  thing 
with  itself,  or  that  whereby  a  thing  is  what  it  is. 

To  begin  with  those  species  of  body  which  are 
not  properly  organized,  which  have  neither  life 
nor  sense,  as  stones,  metals,  &c.  In  these,  indi- 
viduation seems  to  consist  in  nothing  but  greater 
or  less ;  take  the  less  part  of  a  stone  away,  you 
may  still  call  it  the  same  stone;  take  an  equal 
part  with  the  remains,  that  individuation  ceases, 
and  they  are  two  new  individuals.  Divide  a 
stone,  &c.  as  often  as  you  please,  every  part  of  it 
will  be  a  stone  still,  another  individual  stone,  as 
much  as  any  in  the  mountain  or  quarry  it  was 
first  cut  out  of,  even  though  reduced  to  the  mi- 
nutest sand,  or,  if  possible,  a  thousand  times  less. 
But  when  we  take  one  step  farther,  and  proceed 
a  degree  higher  to  the  vegetable  kingdom,  the 
case  is  far  otherwise,  and  indeed  Nature  seems  to 


l6  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

be  still  more  distinct,  and,  as  it  were,  careful  in  its 
individuation  the  higher  it  rises,  till  at  last  it 
brings  us  to  that  great  transcendental  individual, 
the  only  proper  uncompounded  essence,  the  One 
God,  blessed  for  ever. — ^To  return  to  plants:  their 
individuation  consists  in  that  singular  form,  con- 
texture, and  order  of  their  parts,  whereby  they 
are  disposed  for  those  uses  to  which  Nature  has 
designed  them,  and  by  which  they  receive  and 
maintain  their  beings.  For  example  :  in  a  tree, 
from  which  though  you  take  the  branches,  it 
crows,  receives  nourishment  from  the  earth,  main- 
tains  itself,  and  is  still  a  tree,  which  the  parts 
thereof  are  not  when  separated  from  the  rest; 
for  we  cannot  say  every  part  of  a  tree  is  a  tree,  as 
we  can  every  part  of  a  stone  is  still  a  stone  ;  but 
if  this  tree  be  cloven  in  two  or  more  pieces,  or 
felled  by  the  roots,  this  contexture  and  orderly  re- 
spect of  the  parts  one  to  another  ceases ;  its  essence 
as  a  tree  is  destroyed,  its  individuation  perishes, 
and  it  is  no  more  a  tree,  but  a  stump,  or  timber. 
Let  us  proceed  a  degree  higher,  to  merely  sensible 
creatures,  who  are  not  so  immediately  depending 
on  the  earth,  the  common  mother,  as  the  plants, 
nor  rooted  to  it  as  they  are,  but  walk  about, 
and  have,  in  respect  of  that,  an  independent  exist- 
ence, and  are  a  sort  of  world  by  themselves.  And 
here  the  individuation  consists  in  such  a  particu- 
lar contexture  of  their  essential  parts,  and  their 
relation  one  towards  another,  as  enables  them  to 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  I7 

exert  the  operations  of  the  sensible  or  animal  life. 
Thus,  cut  off  the  legs,  or  any  other  parts  of  an 
animal,  it  is  the  same  animal  still;  but  cut  off  its 
head,  or  take  away  its  life,  and  it  is  no  longer 
that  individual  animal,  but  a  mere  carcase,  and 
will,  by  degrees,  resolve  itself  into  common  mat- 
ter again,  or,  rather,  be  transmigrated  into  some 
other  form.  To  ascend  now  to  the  highest  rank 
of  visible  beings — the  rational.  The  Individuation 
of  man  appears  to  consist  in  the  union  of  a  ra 
tional  soul  with  any  convenient  portion  of  fitly 
organized  matter.  Any  portion  of  matter  duly 
qualified,  and  united  to  the  soul  by  such  an 
union  as  we  experience,  is  immediately  indivi- 
duated by  it,  and,  together  with  that  soul,  makes 
a  man  ;  so  that,  if  it  were  possible  for  one  soul  to 
be  clothed  over  and  over  at  different  times  with  all 
the  matter  in  the  universe,  it  would  in  all  those 
distinct  shapes  be  the  same  individual  man.  Nor 
can  a  man  be  supposed  in  this  case  to  differ  more 
from  himself,  than  he  does  when  he  is  an  infant, 
or  just  passed  an  embryo,  from  himself  when  of 
adult  or  decrepid  age  ;  he  having,  during  that 
time,  changed  his  portion  of  matter  over  and 
over;  as,  being  fat  and  lean,  sick  and  well,  lost 
by  bleeding,  excrement,  perspiration,  &c.  ;  gained 
again  by  aliment;  and  perhaps  not  one  particle, 
or  but  very  few  of  the  first  matter  which  he  took 
from  his  parents  and  brought  v^^ith  him  into  the 
world,  now  remaining.    And  thus  much  by  way 

c 


1?  THE   ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

of  essay  towards  the  resolution  of  this  noble 
question. 

Quest,  —  Whether  there  is  any  crisis  of  time 
wherein  persons  have  extraordinary  accidents  as 
to  fortune  or  misfortune  ? 

Ans, — The  Sacred  Writ  censures  the  observers 
of  days,  times,  and  seasons,  the  noted  supersti- 
tion which  at  that  time  was  very  common,  and  at 
this  day  is  not  quite  effaced.    That  upon  certain 
revolutions  of  time  some  things  extraordinary 
have  happened,  and  to  such  persons  as  were  not 
at  all  superstitious  in  that  point,  is  very  certain. 
We  read,  Heylin.  Geog.  p.  734,  that  on  a  Wed- 
nesday Pope  Sextus  the  First  was  born,  on  the 
same  day  made  a  monk,  created  general  of  his  or- 
der, made  cardinal,  chosen  pope,  and  finally  on 
the  same  day  inaugurated.    Also,  it  is  observed, 
in  Stow's  Annals,  p.  812,  Thursday  was  observed 
to  be  a  day  fatal  to  King  Henry  VIII.  and  to  all 
his  posterity,  for  he  himself  died  on  Thursday  the 
28th  of  January,   King  Edward  the  Sixth  on 
Thursday  the  6th  of  July,  Queen  Mary  on  Thurs- 
day the  17th  of  November,  and  Queen  Elizabeth 
on  Thursday  the  24th  of  March.    But  these  ob- 
servations are  warrantable,  being  made  after  the 
time  was  expired,  and  reputed  rather  as  accidental 
than  necessary,  as  by  chance  a  man  may  throw 
ambs-ace  three  or  four  times  together  without 
being  compelled  by  fate  or  destiny  ;  for,  if  a  man 
throws,  he  must  throw  something,  and  there  is 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  1^ 

as  much  reason  that  he  should  throw  ambs-ace 
four  times  together  as  any  other  four  numbers 
that  shall  be  named  successively.  He  that  acts 
without  reason,  and  believes  things  for  which  he 
can  give  no  account  at  all,  deserves  to  be  excluded 
from  the  society  of  rational  creatures. 

Quest.  —  Whether  the  common  notion  of  the 
world  be  true,  that  these  latter  ages,  for  some 
centuries  past,  have  a  less  share  of  learning,  judg- 
ment, and  invention,  than  those  which  have  pre- 
ceded, because  we  find  them  deficient  in  finding 
out  such  advantageous  arts  as  their  forefathers 
have  done  r 

Jns, —  It  is  disputable  v/hether  the  invention 
of  useful  arts  is  infinite  or  not ;  but,  upon  a  sup- 
position of  truth  in  both  cases,  we  see  no  reason 
to  conclude  this  age  comes  short  of  the  preceding, 
as  to  priority  in  arts  and  sciences.  We  will  consi- 
der the  first  part  of  the  dilemma,  and  suppose 
the  invention  of  useful  arts  infinite  ;  if  so,  we 
must  conclude,  as  we  find  by  daily  experience, 
that  at  length  arising  to  be  too  numerous,  some 
would  be  lost  and  supplanted  by  others,  which 
would  not  be  if  the  first  were  more  useful. 
Again,  if  the  invention  of  useful  arts  be  finite, 
they  can  be  but  once  invented  ;  so  that  those  who 
have  already  effected  it  cannot  pretend  a  pre- 
eminence to  those  that  follow,  who  also  would 
have  found  the  same  out  if  they  had  lived  before, 

c  2 


/ 


^0 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


as  is  seen  by  the  great  improvements  daily  made 
in  what  is  invented.  Further,  it  is  a  vulgar  error 
that  any  valuable  art  is  of  one  man's  inventing ; 
as,  for  instance,  in  sailing,  how  many  ages  passed 
before  the  invention  of  sails,  or  a  commodious 
building  of  ships,  or  before  the  compass  was  in- 
vented, and  how  long  before  the  invention  of  the 
compass  was  the  nature  of  the  loadstone  disco- 
vered ?  If  we  take  a  view  of  the  liberal  sciences, 
can  we  believe  that  Aristotle's  philosophy  was  all 
his  own,  or  rather  a  compendium  of  what 
other  philosophers  had  written  before,  and  by 
him  methodically  compiled,  with  some  additions? 
As  to  curious  mechanics,  as  some  are  improved, 
and  as  the  subject  is  copious,  so  some  are  invented, 
^lian  and  Pliny  mentioned  one  Myrmecides, 
who  wrought  out  of  ivoty  a  chariot,  with  four 
wheels,  and  as  many  horses,  in  so  little  room  that 
a  little  fly  might  cover  them  all  with  her  wings ; 
as  also  a  ship,  with  all  the  tackling  to  it,  no  big- 
ger than  that  a  small  bee  might  cover  it  with  her 
wings.  Though  these  were  great  curiosities,  and 
probably  of  one  man's  invention,  we  need  not 
seek  beyond  the  limits  of  our  Island  for  its  par- 
allel. In  the  twentieth  year  of  Queen  Elizabeth, 
one  Mark  Scaliot  made  a  lock,  consisting  of  eleven 
pieces  of  iron,  steel,  and  brass,  all  which,  toge- 
ther with  a  pipe-key  to  it,  weighed  but  one  grain 
of  gold  ;  he  made  also  a  chain,  consisting  of  forty- 
three  links,  whereunto  having  fastened  the  lock 
and  key  before  mentioned,  he  put  the  chain 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY, 

about  a  fiea*s  neck^  which  drew  them  all  with 
ease.  See  the  inventions  and  experiments  of  the 
Royal  Society,  which  will  abundantly  convince 
any  one  that  our  age  has  as  active  and  busy  spirits 
for  invention  as  any  former  age  in  the  world. 

Quest. — Why  men  dream  of  things  they  never 
thought  of? 

Ans.  —  We  deny  they  ever  do  ;  nay,  it  is  im- 
possible they  ever  should,  unless  in  divine  dreams, 
and  that  of  such  a  nature  that  both  the  thing  and 
the  notion  thereof  should  be  revealed  together; 
for  the  fancy,  we  own,  has  power  to  join  things 
together  when  they  are  before  in  the  mind,  or  to 
conceive  monsters  and  impossibilities  out  of  real 
things,  sleeping  as  well  as  waking.  For  example, 
I  have  the  notion  of  myself,  a  horse,  a  road, 
thieves,  water,  fire,  a  house,  night,  or  what  else 
you  might  name,  treasured  up  in  my  memory : 
these  my  fancy  in  a  dream  may  chance  to  shuffle 
together,  and  make  me  think  I  am  on  horseback, 
and  upon  the  road,  that  I  there  meet  with  thieves, 
that  I  take  the  water  to  avoid  them,  and  lodge  in 
a  house  which  in  the  night-time  happens  to  be  on 
fire.  These  things  we  have  all  thought  of  before, 
taken  distinctly  or  asunder,  but  never  just  in  that 
very  order.  So  in  fictitious  beings,  beings  of  rea- 
son as  some  metaphysicians,  or  more  properly 
of  fancy  as  others,  when  we  make  impossible 
conjunctions  of  things.  I  have  seen  a  man,  I 
have  seen  a  dog;  out  of  these  two  real  things 


24 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


fancy  forms  one  fictitious  being,  either  sleeping  or 
waking,  and  makes  a  monstrous  creature,  partly- 
canine,  and  partly  human,  which  a  painter  can 
describe  on  paper,  though  it  first  must  have  a 
being  in  his  own  fancy.  All  this,  we  own,  the 
fancy  has  power  to  perform,  but  never  to  start 
any  notion  absolutely  new,  and  independent  on  the 
frame  of  things  before  treasured  in  the  memory. 

Quest, — What  becomes  of  Smoke  ? 

^7is, —  It  ascends  into  the  air,  and,  if  in  great 
quantity,  forms  a  sort  of  a  cloud,  as  we  may  see 
if  we  will  but  take  the  pains  to  go  half  a  mile  out 
of  London  ;  if  in  smaller,  it  is  dissipated  by  the 
winds,  or  lost  in  the  vast  tracts  of  air,  as  a  little 
water  when  spilt  on  great  heaps  of  dust;  for  that  it 
is  annihilated  none  can  be  so  foolish  as  to  conceive. 


Quest.  — ^Of  what  antiquity  are  Epitaphs  and 
Elegies  ? 

^ns. — Many  instances  of  Epitaphs  in  prose  and 
in  verse  may  be  collected  from  the  old  Greek 
poets  and  Historians,  who  yet  were  but  children 
compared  to  the  Chaldeans  and  Egyptians.  But 
the  most  ancient  precedent  of  epitaphs  must  be 
that  recorded  in  the  most  antient  history,  namely, 
the  Old  Testament,  1  Sam.  vi.  l8  ;  where  it  is  re- 
corded, that  the  great  stone  erected  as  a  memorial 
unto  Abel,  by  his  father  Adam,  remained  unto 
that  day  in  being,  and  its  name  was  called  "  the 
stone  of  Abel;"  and  its  elegy  was,  "  Here  was  shed 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


23 


the  blood  of  righteous  Abel;"  as  it  is  also  called 
4000  years  after,  Matt,  xxiii.  35.  And  this  is  the 
origin  of  monumental  memorials  and  elegies. 

Quest. — How  does  a  nettle  sting  ?  whether  by 
leaving  part  in  the  flesh,  as  a  bee  its  sting,  or  by 
what  means  ? 

Jlns. — That  soft  down  which  covers  the  leaves 
is  in  all  probability  the  substance  which,  being 
darted  in  the  small  pores  of  the  flesh,  and  by 
reason  of  its  peculiar  configuration  sticking  fast 
therein,  gives  such  torment  to  the  part  afflicted, 
much  after  the  same  manner  as  cow-itch,  though 
more  pungent  and  violent.  Now  this  configura- 
tion, suppose  humated  oraculeated,  when  the  net- 
tle is  violently  and  suddenly  pressed,  seems  to  be 
lost  and  destroyed,  the  little  stings  being  broke 
oflT,  or  blunted  one  against  another,  which  is  the 
reason  a  nettle  never  stings  when  we  press  it  hard 
between  our  fingers. 

Quest. — Whether  Riches  and  Honour  are  really 
of  that  intrinsic  value  as  the  eager  and  general 
thirst  after  them  would  argue  ? 

J)7S. — It  has  been  affirmed  that  opinion  is  the 
rate  of  things  ;  but  a  truer  maxim  is,  that  reason 
is  the  true  rate  of  things,  and  truth  is  always  itself 
without  change.  When,  if  I  take  my  measure 
in  any  thing  according  to  my  opinion  to-day,  I 
may  change  them  again  to-morrow,  and  both 
times  miss  the  truth,  and  80  make  a  third  choice. 


24  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

which  fully  shews  the  etymology  of  an  opinionist, 
viz.  one  that  looks  only  on  the  surface,  or  ap- 
pearance of  things,  which  is  a  very  mean  charac- 
ter for  a  rational  being.    Riches  or  poverty  are  as 
they  are  used,  and  not  as  they  are  esteemed,  un- 
less by  Vv^ise  men.    A  man  cannot  be  unhappy 
under  the  most  depressed  circumstances,  if  he  . 
uses  his  reason,  not  his  opinion :  for  those  ends 
it  was  sent  him ;  and  the  most  exalted  fortunes 
are,  if  reason  be  not  consulted,  the  subject  of  a 
wise  man's  pity.    Bajazet  the  first,  after  he  had 
lost  the  city  of  Sebastia,  and  therein  Orthobulus 
his  eldest  son,  as  he  marched  with  his  great  army 
against  Tamerlane,  heard  a  country  shepherd 
merrily  diverting  himself  with  his  homely  pipe, 
as  he  sat  upon  the  side  of  a  mountain,  feeding  his 
poor  flock.    The  king  stood  still  a  great  while 
listening  to  him,  to  the  great  admiration  of  his 
nobility  about  him  ;  at  last,  fetching  a  deep  sigh, 
he  broke  forth  into  these  words,    O  happy  shep- 
herd, who  hadst  neither  Orthobulus  nor  Sebas- 
tia to  lose !" 


Quest. — Whether  Birds  have  any  government? 

Ans. — The  bee,  and  they  are  the  Muses' 
birds,  certainly  have,  and  that  a  very  regular 
one.  But,  lest  any  should  be  so  unkind  to 
degrade  those  pretty  creatures  into  flies  or  in- 
sects, we  will  instance  in  some  of  a  little  larger 
wing.  All  birds,  and  beasts,  and  fishes  too,  have 
thus  much  of  government,  that  the  weaker  obeys, 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  25 

and  the  stronger  rules ;  but  still,  whether  there  is 
any  other  settled  subordination  of  power  amongst 
them,  we  suppose,  is  the  question.  It  is  observed 
in  all  the  season-birds,  or  those  which  go  and 
come  at  stated  times  of  the  year,  that  they  fly  in 
troops,  and  use  a  constant  order  in  their  flight,  re- 
garding the  wind,  and  throwing  themselves  into 
such  a  body  as  is  most  convenient,  either  to  move 
against  or  with  it  as  their  occasions  serve.  They 
have,  besides,  their  scouts  and  advanced  guards 
before,  to  scour  the  country,  or  discover  an  enemy. 
Read  Bergarak's  Superccelestial  Navigations;  and 
you  will  have  the  most  exact  account  of  their  or- 
der, laws,  government,  and  manner  of  living,  that 
you  can  anywhere  meet  with. 

Quest, — Whether  Society  or  Solitude  be  most 
preferable,  in  order  to  the  noblest  ends  of  man  ? 

Ans,  Some  of  the  best  thoughts  on  both  sides 
may  be  met  with  in  Mr.  Cowley's  Essay  for  Soli- 
tude, and  Mr.  Evelyn's  against  it.  Honest  old 
Aristotle  has  summed  up  almost  all  that  can  be 
said  in  a  few  words.  "  A  solitary  life,"  says  he, 
"  is  either  brutal  or  divine,  above  or  below  a 
man."  Whence  his  other  assertion  is  clear,  that 
man  must  be  a  poetical,  or,  if  you  will,  a  social 
animal.  We  must  confess,  could  we  believe  a 
man  answered  the  end  of  his  creation  by  an  as- 
cetic hermetical  life,  we  do  not  doubt  but  it 
would  give  the  highest  pleasure  he  is  capable  of 
in  the  world,  by  contemplation  and  meditation. 


26 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


But  we  are  not  yet  so  hapjoy^  nor  ougiit  we  to  be 
sOj — that  being  a  cowardly  sort  of  content^  which 
is  got  by  running  away  from  whatever  displeases. 
Should  all  good  men  thus  take  a  whim  of  leaving 
the  world,  what  would  become  of  it  ?  And  would 
it  not  be  just  such  a  piece  of  justice  and  kindness, 
as  for  all  the  physicians  in  a  nation  to  go  and  live 
in  a  wilderness,  lest  their  patients  should  infect 
them  ?  We  do  not  in  the  least  doubt  but  that  it 
is  much  more  difficult  to  live  honestly  in  the  midst 
of  so  many  thousand  temptations,  which  are  un- 
avoidable in  this  world,  than  to  do  so  when  retired 
from  all  things  of  that  nature.  But,  though  diffi- 
cult, it  is  possible,  and  the  more  difficulty  the 
more  honour.  Not  but  that  we  think  the  greatest 
trial  a  truly  good  man  will  have  of  his  virtue, 
while  he  remains  on  the  scene  of  action,  lies  on 
the  contrary  side  to  that  where  it  is  generally  sus- 
pected. He  has  more  need  of  his  patience  than 
his  temperance  ;  and  he  must  be  better  humoured 
than  most  men,  if,  when  he  once  knows  it  well,  he 
does  not  almost  lose  all  his  charity  for  this  world. 

Quest. — What  think  you  of  the  Milky  Way  in 
the  heavens  ? 

j4ns. — It  is  amusing  to  consider  the  extrava- 
gant fancies  of  the  poets  and  some  of  the  ancient 
philosophers  about  it.  Some  say  that  when  Juno 
suckled  Hercules,  and  discovered  who  it  was,  she 
spilt  her  milk  there  ;  others  that  it  is  the  space  of 
heaven  which  the  Sun's  chariot  burnt  by  the  ill 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  2J 

driving  of  Phaeton ;  others  the  j3lace  where 
Apollo  fought  the  giants,  the  road  of  the  gods 
leading  to  Jupiter's  palace,  the  residence  of  he- 
roes, the  mansion  of  the  virtues,  the  highway  of 
souls,  with  innumerahle  more  such  whims.  The 
former  philosophers,  particularly  Aristotle,  held 
it  to  be  a  meteor,  fed  by  plentiful  exhalations 
from  the  earth,  and  fired  or  irradiated  by  the  stars 
in  this  place.  This  opinion  prevailed  till  the  use 
of  long  telescopes,  which  discover  an  innumer- 
able company  of  small  stars  there,  which  are  not 
visible  to  the  naked  eye;  and  it  is  generally  con- 
cluded that  it  is  nothing  but  stars,  which  being  at 
too  great  a  distance  to  transmit  their  light  to  us 
distinctly,  the  same  is  associated  and  united  to- 
gether thereby  causing  a  whiteness,  or  a  weak 
and  imperfect  light. 

Quest, — What  is  the  reason  of  the  Polarity  of 
the  Loadstone,  and  that  a  needle  touched  with  it 
turns  towards  the  North  ?  and  what  is  the  reason 
of  the  Variation  of  the  Compass  in  some  places  ? 

j4m\ — It  appears  the  earth  itself  is  the  great 
magnet :  when  a  bar  of  iron  has  stood  long  in  the 
window,  that  end  of  it  which  is  next  the  earth 
will  have  the  same  virtue  which  the  loadstone  has. 
Mr.  Boyle,  in  his  book  of  the  usefulness  of  Ex- 
perimental Natural  Philosophy,  observed  that  a 
loadstone  heated  red  hot  lost  its  attractive  virtue, 
and  by  cooling  it  again,  he  gave  its  extremes  a 
polarity ;  and,  by  refrigerating  the  same  end,  some- 


38 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


times  North,  and  sometimes  South,  changed  the 
poles  at  pleasure ;  and  this  change  was  wrought 
not  only  by  cooling  it  directly  North  or  South, 
but  perpendicularly,  that  end  of  it  which  was  to- 
wards the  ground  turning  towards  the  North,which 
shews  the  magnetic  nature  of  the  earth,  its  effluvia 
being  able  to  impart  a  magnetic  faculty  to  the 
loadstone  itself.  Now,  if  this  terraqueous  globe  be 
mostly  earth  under  the  North  pole,  the  mystery  is 
plainly  resolved  ;  or  if  it  be  the  most  perfect  earth 
there,  and  not  dust  or  sand,  by  the  burning  of  the 
sun,  or  be  not  overcome  with  restringency  of  ice 
and  cold,  the  case  is  yet  the  same.    Hence  the 
solution  of  the  variation  of  the  needle  is  also  plain. 
I  am  assured  that,  between  the  shore  of  Ireland, 
France,  Spain,  Guinea,  and  the  Azores,  the  North 
point  varies  towards  the  East ;  at  some  part  of  the 
Azores  it  deflects  not  on  the  other  side  of  the 
Azores,  and  this  side  of  the  Equator,  the  North 
point  of  the  needle  wheels  to  the  West,  so  that  in 
the  latitude  36^  near  the  shore  the  variation  is 
about  1 1  degrees :  but  on  the  other  side  of  the 
Equator  it  is  quite  otherwise ;  for  in  Brasilia  the 
South  point  varies  12  degrees  into  the  West ;  but 
elongating  from  the  coast  of  Brasilia  toward  the 
shore  of  Africa,  it  varies  eatward,  and  arriving  at 
the  Cape  de  las  Aquilas,  it  rests  in  the  meridian, 
and  looks  neither  way  ;  the  cause  of  which  varia- 
tions is  the  inequality  of  the  earth,  variously  dis- 
posed, and  indifferently  mixed  with  the  sea,  the 
needle  drives  that  way  where  the  greater  and  most 


HISTORY  AND  rHILOSOPHV.  ^ 

powerful  part  of  the  earth  is  placed ;  for  whereas 
on  this  side  the  Azores  the  needle  varies  Eastward, 
it  is  occasioned  by  that  vast  tract  of  part  of  Eu- 
rope and  Asia  seated  eastward.  At  Rome  there 
is  a  less  variation  than  at  London ;  for  on  the  West 
side  of  Rome  are  seated  the  great  Continents  of 
France^  Spain,  and  Germany ;  but  unto  England 
there  is  almost  no  earth  Westward. 


Quest. — Is  it  not  better  to  die  than  to  live  ? 

Ans, — The  question  ought  to  have  particula- 
rized one  of  these, — whether  is  it  better  for  a  good 
man  or  a  bad  man,  an  animal  or  a  vegetable,  to 
die  or  live? — and  then  a  direct  solution  might  have 
been  given.  But  suppose  the  question  means  in 
general  terms,  we  answer  that  life  is  much  more 
desirable  than  death.  By  a  common  instinct  of 
self-preservation,  all  creatures  shun  that  great 
evil,  death.  It  is  the  greatest  of  all  evils,  because 
a  destruction  of  all  good.  A  creature  is  much 
more  noble  in  its  due  proportions  and  shapes, 
than  when  it  lies  in  its  corruption  or  chaos  of 
earth  ;  in  the  last  there  is  nothing  in  it  desirable 
in  respect  either  of  itself,  or  the  rest  of  the  crea- 
tion, but  in  the  first  there  are  particular  impresses 
of  and  communications  from  the  great  divine  ori- 
ginal good  ;  nay  a  good  man  himself  would  be 
afraid  of  the  grave  w^ere  he  not  in  hopes  of  living 
again.  Life  is  the  all  of  every  being,  being  a 
part  of  Him  who  is  the  fountain  of  life.  What 
perfection,  happiness,  and  enjoyment,  can  be  ex- 


30  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

pectedin  nothingness  ?  All  that  can  be  pretended 
in  favour  of  the  contrary  opinion  is  the  absence 
of  evil.  "  There/'  say  they,  "  we  shall  meet  with 
no  crosses,  disappointments,  pain,  misery,  and,  in 
short,  none  of  the  evils  of  life."  To  which  I  an- 
swer, that  the  presence  of  good  is  more  desirable 
than  the  absence  of  evil.  Again,  every  individual 
animal  of  the  creation  may  be  happy.  Birds, 
beasts,  and  fishes,  seek  no  further  than  moderate 
well-tempered  elements,  to  fly,  breathe,  and 
swim  in,  and  sufficient  food  to  live  upon  ;  when 
they  enjoy  this,  they  can  seek  no  farther  ;  and  if 
so  they  must  be  happy,  for  if  not  they  would 
seek  for  happiness  in  something  else.  Man  only? 
that  irregular  restless  lump,  who  knows  no  me- 
dium of  things,  but  is  much  more  happy  or  mi- 
serable than  all  the  rest  of  the  creation,  is  not  left 
destitute  of  his  rest  and  end,  namely  God.  If  he 
will  be  so  inconsiderate,  notwithstanding  his  fre- 
quent disappointments,  to  renew  his  search  after 
happiness,  where  it  is  not  to  be  found,  he  has 
only  himself  to  blame,  but  he  has  no  cause  to  ac- 
cuse his  Creator,  who  has  taken  sufficient  care  for 
his  happiness,  unless  he  expects  to  be  made  happy 
against  his  will. 

Quest, — Looking  over  Sir  William  Templets 
Memoirs,  I  met  with  a  story  concerning  an  old 
parrot,  belonging  to  Prince  Maurice,  that  readily 
answered  to  several  questions  promiscuously  put 
to  him.    By  what  means  did  this  creature  attain 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  31 

to  the  knowledge  of  doing  that  which  to  human 
reason  seems  so  very  improbable  ? 

Ans, — Scaliger  tells  us,  that  he  saw  a  crow  in 
the  French  king  s  court,  that  was  taught  to  fly 
at  partridges,  or  any  other  fowls,  from  the  fal- 
coner's hand.     Cardinal  Assanio  had  a  parrot 
that  was  taught  to  repeat  the  Apostle's  Creed  ver- 
batim in  Latin.    And  in  the  Court  of  Spain  there 
was  one  that  could  sing  the  Gamut  perfectly  :  if 
at  any  time  he  was  out,  he  would  say,  Nova 
Bueno that  is,  "  Not  well ;"  but  when  he  was  right, 
he  would  say,'^Bue-nova,""  Now  it  is  well."  In  the 
time  of  war  betwixt  Auoustus  Caesar  and  M.  An- 
tonius,  there  was  a  poor  man  at  Rome,  who,  pur- 
posing to  provide  for  himself  against  all  events, 
had  this  contrivance.   He  bred  up  two  crows  with 
his  utmost  diligence,  and  brought  it  to  pass  that 
in  their  prating  language  one  would  salute  Cae- 
sar, and  the  other  Antonius.    This  man,  when 
Augustus  returned  conqueror,  met  him  upon  the 
way,  with  his  crow  in  his  hand,  which  ever  and 
anon  came  out  with  his  "  Salve,  Caesar,  Victor,  Im- 
perator;"  "Hail, Caesar,  the  conqueror  and  emperor.'* 
Augustus,  dehghted  herewith,  purchased  the  bird 
at  the  price  of  20,000  deniers  of  Rome.    It  would 
be  too  long  to  mention  the  tractability  of  the  dra- 
gon Seneca  speaks  of,  or  what  strange  things  were 
performed  by  Emanuel  of  Portugal's  elephant;  the 
quickness  of  some  dogs  at  Rome  and  Constanti- 
nople.   Our  thoughts  upon  the  whole  are  these : 
That  the  novelty  of  things  makes  them  wonderful, 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


when  there  is  not  the  least  reason  for  wonder^  if 
we  consider  the  nature  of  such  things.    We  will 
grant  it  possible  for  a  parrot  to  answer  distinctly 
to  such  and  such  questions  ;  but  this  action  needs 
no  reason  to  the  performance  of  it,  since  it  may 
be  effected  without  it,  viz,  by  an  habituated  idea 
of  things.    Not  only  man,  but  the  inferior  ranks 
of  animals  receive  their  ideas  by  the  senses.  Sup- 
pose the  ear,  for  that  comes  nearest  the  question, 
such  and  such  sounds  oft  repeated,  and  such  and 
such  actions  immediately  preceding  or  imme- 
diately following  such  sounds,  must  necessarily 
form  a  complex  idea  both  of  the  sound  and  action  ; 
so  that  when  either  such  action  or  such  sound  is 
repeated,  an  idea  of  the  other  must  necessarily 
attend  it.    Thus  dogs  are  taught  to  fetch  and 
carry ;  and  thus  parrots  talk  when  they  speak 
more  words  than  one  together ;  as,  for  instance, 
"  Poor  Poll these  words  being  often  repeated 
together,  if  one  of  them  be  mentioned  and  the 
other  left,  there  must  necessarily  be  an  idea  of 
the  other  sound,  because  custom  and  habit  chain 
them  together  ;  and  if  two  words,  why  not  three  ? 
and  if  three,  why  not  many  together?  There 
needs  but  a  little  more  diligence,  care,  and  fre- 
quent instruction.    Some  wonder  to  see  an  ele- 
phant dance,  when  all  is  nothing  but  the  pure 
effect  of  custom  upon  repetition  of  complex  ideas. 
The  manner  of  teaching  an  elephant  to  dance  has 
been  thus  practised.    They  bring  a  young  ele- 
phant upon  a  floor,  lieat  it  underneath,  and  play 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 

upon  the  music  while  he  hfts  up  his  legs  and 
shifts  his  feet  about  by  reason  of  the  torture  of  the 
heat ;  this  often  practised,  he  does  so  upon  the  bare 
sound  of  music ;  so  that  it  shews,  when  he  dances 
after  music,  that  it  is  not  from  any  principles 
of  reason,  but  from  the  concatenation  of  the  two 
ideas  of  heat  and  music,  which  custom  has  habi  - 
tuated him  to.  And  thus  it  is  with  dogs,  birds, 
dancing  horses,  parrots,  magpies,  &c. 

Quest, — Whence  arose  the  custom  of  allowing 
the  Benefit  of  Clergy  to  some  offenders  ?  If  it 
was  to  transcribe  manuscripts,  as  some  say,  be- 
fore the  art  of  printing  was  known,  why  is  it 
still  continued,  since  that  reason  has  long  ago 
ceased  ? 

/Ins. — In  the  extreme  times  of  Popish  igno- 
rance, when  monks  themselves  could  scarcely 
understand  or  read  Latin,  and  the  common  peo- 
ple were  wholly  ignorant  of  it,  the  monks  had 
that  privilege  of  reading  their  neck-verse,  what- 
ever villainies  they  committed,  whilst  the  illi- 
terate vulgar  died  for  it;  and  thence  came  the 
Benefit  of  Clergy.  But  why  it  is  yet  continued 
we  know  not,  unless  those  Statutes  were  never 
repealed  since  the  monks  flourished  in  this  king- 
dom. Possibly  the  first  custom  in  this  Nation 
came  from  the  old  Romans,  who  sometimes  par- 
doned criminals  upon  the  repeating  of 

Tu  potis  es  nigrum,  vitio  prefigore  Theta." 
D 


34  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

Quest. — What  is  your  opinion  of  the  star  that 
appeared  at  our  Saviour's  birth,  and  went  before 
the  wise  men  ?  its  nature,  magnitude,  height,  and 
duration  r 

Arts. — It  is  very  probable  that  it  was  a  sort  of 
Comet,  apparently  like  a  common  star,  because 
it  was  so  low  as  to  seem  to  stand  over  the  place 
where  our  Saviour  was  born ;  for,  if  it  had  been 
but  as  high  as  the  Moon,  it  would  have  appeared 
yet  farther  off  when  the  wise  men  came  to  Beth- 
lehem. For  the  rest,  we  find  no  credible  author 
amongst  the  ancients  that  makes  any  mention 
of  it. 


Quest. —  When  the  Enghsh  and  French  fleets 
fought,  many  persons  who  saw  the  battle  could 
discern  the  flashing  of  fire,  but  heard  no  guns  ? 
The  spectators  stood  upon  a  high  hill  by  the  sea ; 
and  others,  who  were  forty  miles  behind  them 
within  land,  heard  the  guns  very  perfectly.  — 
Query,  why  those  within  sight,  at  ten  leagues 
distance,  could  not  hear,  while  those  who  were  so 
much  farther  oflT  could  ? 

Ans,  —  Sound  cannot  proceed  farther  than  the 
first  body  it  meets  with  ;  all  others  are  mock 
sounds,  or  echoes  by  a  reverberation,  or  repercus- 
sion of  the  air  :  therefore  the  sound  meeting  with 
that  hill  whereupon  your  acquaintance  stood, 
was  made  the  first  repercussion,  which  would  an- 
swer in  the  next  valley  to  it  within-land  ;  and  as 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  35 

many  valleys  as  it  met  with,  so  many  echoes  it 
made;  so  that  when  the  sound  came  to  those  per- 
sons so  far  within-land,  it  might  very  well  be 
heard  several  minutes  before  it  reached  them.  It 
was  impossible  to  hear  it  upon  the  first  hill,  for 
want  of  a  proper  echo  between  that  and  the  sea. 
If  your  acquaintance  had  turned  their  backs,  and 
hearkened  from  the  echoes  within -land,  they 
might  have  heard  a  faint  repetition  of  it  that  way. 

Quest.  —  What  is  the  reason  that,  by  applying 
the  empty  shells  of  some  shell-fishes  to  your  ear, 
you  may  therein  perceive  a  noise  like  the  roaring 
of  the  sea  ? 

Ans. — ^Those  shells  have  a  gyral  conformation, 
not  altogether  unlike  that  of  the  ear  itself.  Now 
the  air  being  imprisoned  in  the  turnings  and 
windings  within,  has  that  particular  rushing 
sound,  either  in  forcing  itself  out,  or  passing  from 
one  part  thereof  to  another,  being  forced  in  by  the 
motion  of  the  exterior  air,  and  wandering  about 
in  those  meatuses,  or  curious  labyrinths,  wherein 
it  is  received. 


Quest.  —  By  what  means  a  rudder  guides  a 
ship  ? 

Ans.  —  By  making  a  small  sort  of  a  stream,  or 
current,  which  takes  the  ship  or  boat  either  on 
one  side  or  the  other,  and  turns  it  accordingly 
which  way  soever  the  steersman  pleases. 

D  2 


36*  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

Quest,  —  Why  do  such  as  would  shoot  right 
wink  with  one  eye? 

Ans. — Because  there  is  but  one  right  Hne  from 
one  point  to  another  ;  but  from  two  eyes  there  are 
tvvo  lines  to  one  object,  vvliich^  though  they  both 
terminate  tliere,  yet  do  not  begin  together ;  there- 
fore two  eyes  beginning  at  several  points^  cannot 
both  of  them  act  directly,  unless  he  shoot  with 
two  guns  at  once. 

Quest. — Who  are  the  most  happy  in  the  world, 
wise  men  or  fools  r 

Ans.  —  Much  may  be  said  of  either,  but  the 
manner  very  different.  If  the  fool  be  the  happier, 
the  world  is  a  very  desirable  place,  there  being 
such  a  quantity  of  happy  men  in  it.  The  Su- 
preme Being  is  essential  happiness ;  those,  there- 
fore, that  act  the  most  like  him  are  happiest. 
There  is  but  one  right  line,  and  infinite  crooked 
ones;  one  wisdom,  but  follies  innumerable  ;  one 
real  goodness,  but  divers  appearances  of  it ;  and 
but  one  best  way  to  every  thing,  and  to  judge  of 
every  thing  that  is  reason,  or  understanding. 
Here  only  is  the  paradox ;  the  fool's  happiness 
consists  in  a  privation  of  grief,  and  the  happiness 
of  a  wise  man  in  possession  of  good  ;  which, 
being  a  little  considered,  the  result  of  this  next 
question  will  answer  the  first ;  namely,  which 
would  be  more  miserable,  a  wise  man  that  wanted 
his  good,  or  a  fool  that  had  a  sense  of  his  grief? 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  37 

In  this  reverse  the  wise  man  would  be  more  mise- 
rable ;  because  he  that  wants  his  happiness  wants 
every  thing,  but  he  that  has  a  sense  of  grief  may 
have  a  sense  of  happiness.  Now  this  reverse,  or 
contrary  to  the  reverse,  must  necessarily  make  him 
happy ;  namely,  his  possession  of  good  is  prefer- 
able to  the  fool's  privation  of  grief. 

Quest.  —  What  is  the  reason  of,  and  when  be- 
gan, that  custom  of  changing  the  Pope's  name  at 
his  inauguration  ? 

Arts. — Pope  Gregory  the  Fourth  being  dead  in 
the  year  842,  they  chose  for  the  sovereign  bishop 
of  Rome  a  Roman  of  noble  blood,  illustrious  edu- 
cation, but  of  a  harsh  name,  viz.  Hogsface:  there- 
fore, because  this  name  seemed  to  him  disagree- 
able to  such  a  holy  function,  and  remembering 
that  our  Saviour  changed  the  name  of  St.  Peter, 
he  also  changed  his  name,  and  called  himself 
Sergius  after  his  father.  From  thence  came  the 
custom  observed  to  this  day,  that  he  who  is  chosen 
Pope  may  at  his  pleasure  take  what  name  pleases 
him  best;  but  they  keep  the  custom  of  taking  the 
names  of  some  of  their  predecessors. 

Quest. — Whether  the  sky  be  of  any  colour? 

j4ns, — No,  if  you  mean  by  sky  the  aether ;  nor 
are  clouds  of  any  colour  naturally,  but  what  they 
receive  by  reflection  from  different  lights. 


38  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

Quest. — Whether  snakes  are  hurtful  by  na- 
ture ? 

^ns. — Our  English  snakes  are  harmless  worms, 
as  now  almost  every  ploughman  and  old  woman 
knows.  That  which  appears  so  dreadfully  out  of 
its  mouth,  and  which  it  brandishes  so  like  a  sting, 
is  only  a  poor  innocent  tongue,  more  soft,  if  pos- 
sible, than  a  silken  thread.  It  has  teeth,  but 
never  bites  any  thing,  though  highly  provoked, 
unless  it  be  a  little  grass.  They  hiss  and  leap  at 
any  thing  when  vexed,  but  never  do  any  injury. 
We  warn  the  reader  never  to  take  up  by  mistake 
vipers  in  the  fields  instead  of  the  other;  their  poi- 
son, without  speedy  remedies,  being  very  deadly, 
though  it  is  thought  not  so  strong  as  those  in 
warmer  climates. 


Quest,  — Was  there  ever  any  such  execution 
practised  in  England  as  hanging  in  chains  alive? 

Ans. — Many  about  three  hundred  years  since, 
and  some  few  instances  within  two  hundred  years, 
whence  it  is  common  that  you  have  relation  of 
persons  eating  their  shoulders,  and  as  far  as  they 
could  reach,  to  preserve  life  a  little  longer  than 
otherwise  it  was  possible.  Under  this  head  comes 
that  famous  relation  of  the  woman  that  kept  her 
father  alive  for  a  considerable  time  with  the  milk 
of  her  own  breasts. 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  39* 

Quest, — Whether  the  force  and  virtues  of  the 
old  Egyptian  TaHsmans,  and  their  other  magical 
operations,  were  true  and  real,  or  only  imagery, 
or  illusion  r 

Ans. — In  treating  upon  this  subject,  we  shall 
consider  it  in  this  method.  The  word  itself ;  the 
manner  how  it  is  made;  what  efltict  (according  to 
the  ancients)  it  hath  produced ;  and,  lastly,  what 
our  judgment  is  upon  the  whole. 

The  word  Talisman  is  Arabic,  and  comes  very 
near  the  Hebrew  v^^ord  Iselem,  which  signifies 
image,  figure,  or  character.  So  far  as  we  can 
learn,  Zoroaster  was  the  first  inventor  of  it. 
Some  authors  tell  us,  that  the  manner  of  making 
it  is  thus When  such  and  such  constellations, 
aspects,  &c.  of  stars  happen,  which  according  to 
observation  had  such  and  such  influences,  the 
artist  engraved  his  Talismani,  or  figure,  in  the 
nature  of  an  hieroglyph ick,  signifying  such  and 
such  mystery,  upon  some  metal,  precious  stones, 
rings,  or  medals,  which  they  believed  would  re- 
ceive and  keep  the  critical  influences  of  their 
designed  aspects.  Some  were  to  work  cures, 
some  to  incite  such  and  such  passions,  some  to 
keep  away  rain,  hail,  venomous  beasts ;  in  short, 
all  sort  of  evils ;  and  others  were  to  procure  such 
and  such  good  things,  according  to  the  nature  of 
the  aspect  under  which  they  were  engraved.  But 
engraving  would  be  too  long  an  action,  and  would 
not  be  finished  before  its  proper  aspect  was  over, 

D4 


*40 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


and  another  begun ;  therefore,  we  are  rather  of 
the  opinion  of  those  authors,  who  inform  us,  that 
the  metal  was  ready  melted,  and  at  the  critical 
moment  cast  into  a  mould,  where  it  received  the 
impression  designed  by  its  author,  under  its  re- 
spective constellation. 

It  would  be  too  long  to  tell  the  w^orld  that 
many  things  have  really  been  effected  by  (or 
at  least  under  the  shew  of)  a  talismanical  vir- 
tue, amongst  the  Egyptians;  besides,  in  other 
histories  there  are  various  instances.  VirgiPs 
brazen  fly  and  golden  horseleach,  with  which 
he  hindered  flies  from  entering  into  Naples, 
and  killed  all  the  horseleeches  in  a  ditch.  The 
5gure  of  a  stork,  placed  by  Apollonius  at  Con- 
stantinople, to  drive  all  the  storks  out  of  that 
country ;  as  also  that  of  a  gnat,  which  cleared 
Antioch  of  those  troublesome  insects.  Thus  we 
read  that  the  people  of  Hampts,  in  Arabia,  and 
those  of  Tripoli,  in  Syria,  preserved  themselves 
from  venomous  beasts  by  the  talisman  of  a  scor- 
pion, placed  upon  one  of  their  towers.  Paracelsus 
mentions  one  against  the  pestilence,  Julius  Risto- 
nius  a  Prato  had  one  powerful  against  the  gout, 
with  innumerable  more  such  instances ;  which 
not  only  shew  that  there  have  been  such  things 
as  Talismans,  but  that  really  such  eflfects  have 
been,  and  as  was  supposed  by  virtue  of  their  cha- 
racteristic. 

We  shall  also  give  the  reasons  why  the  aa- 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  41 


cieiits  believed  such  virtues  in  theui ;  viz,  be- 
cause they  really  believed  the  stars  had  such 
and  such  influences,  which  might  be  communi- 
cated by  sympathy,  as  our  sympathetic  pow^der, 
wound-salve,  &c. 

Now,  and  according  to  the  observations  for- 
in.erly  made  upon  the  ophites,  which  having  veins 
in  it,  like  a  serpent,  cure  the  bite  of  a  serpent  by 
application  ;  the  squill  and  poppy,  which  resem- 
ble a  head,  cure  the  head-ache ;  eye-bright  cures 
sore  eyes,  which  it  resembles ;  and  innumerable 
more  such  unaccountable  things  in  nature. 

Our  opinion  is,  that  really  such  cures  and  other 
miracles  have  been  wrought,  but  it  was  only  by  the 
help  of  the  devil,  not  of  Talismans  ;  and  in  this 
the  devil  imitates  God,  who  was  pleased  to  make 
use  of  a  brazen  serpent  to  cure  the  Israelites.  Thus 
a  silly  juggler,  "  Blow  here,  Presto  be  gone,"  &c. 
which  was  only  mock  and  pretence,  when  some- 
thing else  was  the  cause  of  conveyance.  Under  this 
may  be  reckoned  charms  for  tooth-ache,  agues, 
&c.  as  also  unlawful  and  wicked  trials  about 
witches,  and  a  hundred  observations,  which  weak 
and  ignorant  people  are  guilty  of. 

But  to  prove  Talismans,  charms,  &c.  to  be  all 
abuse,  cheat,  and  illusion,  we  shall  offer: 

That  every  thing  acts  by  its  first  or  second 
qualities,  or  by  its  substance,  whence  proceed 
all  properties  and  sympathies ;  not  by  their  quali- 


*42 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


ties^  as  heat,  cold,  hardness,  softness,  &c.  ;  since 
then  it  oight  do  in  other  shapes  :  not  in  their  sub- 
stance, for  sevc  -  al  sorts  of  matter  will  serve  to  make 
a  Talismiui.  To  which  we  might  add,  that  it  is 
not  the  figure  neither,  which  is  no  more  proper  to 
receive  the  influences  of  such  an  aspect,  than  the 
skin  of  the  animal  itself  stuffed  with  straw:  those 
tilings,  which  cure  by  occult  and  unknown  qua- 
lities, do  it  not  by  virtue  of  their  figure,  but  by 
the  property  of  their  substance,  which  remains 
when  they  are  despoiled  of  their  figure,  and 
turned  into  powder.  In  short,  the  whole  is  a 
wicked,  superstitious,  ridiculous  juggle,  and  the 
devil  has  had  too  many  fair  opportunities  of  such 
things  for  his  interest. 

Quest, — Whether  a  main  does  not  sin  as  much 
in  spending  his  money  foolishly,  as  in  being 
covetous  ? 

Ans, — Upon  some  accounts,  we  think  more; 
for  a  prodigal  man,  in  our  judgment,  is  a  worse 
member  of  the  commonwealth  than  the  covetous; 
because  a  man  may  be  covetous,  without  injuring 
any  body  but  himself,  and  some  or  other  will 
at  least  get  something  by  his  death  ;  but  the 
prodigal  man  not  only  ruins  his  own  family, 
but  very  frequently  all  besides  that  have  any 
thing  to  do  w  ith  him ;  when  he  dies,  cheats 
all  besides  the  worms.  And  so  fare  thee  well, 
Bristol. 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  S9 

Quest, — Who  was  the  first  Philosopher  r 
Ans.  —  It  is  affirmed  by  Laertius  that  Thales 
was  the  first  among  the  Greeks  in  natural  philoso- 
phy and  mathematics.  He  is  called  by  Plutarch 
the  inventor  of  philosophy  ;  by  Justin  Martyr  the 
most  ancient  of  philosophers;  by  Tertullian  the 
first  that  made  an  inquiry  after  natural  causes. 

Quest. — Whether,  when  a  horse  neighs,  it  is  a 
rejoicing  or  because  he  is  angry  ? 

Ans.  —  We  believe  neither;  but  rather  a  desire 
of  company,  as  is  frequently  observed  in  all  the 
race  both  old  and  young. 

Quest. — Why  do  parrots,  magpies,  &c.  talk, 
when  several  other  birds  cannot,  if  the  same 
means  be  used  ? 

Ans. — From  a  natural  instinct  of  imitating 
sounds,  and  not,  as  some  believe,  from  a  proper 
formation  of  their  tongue;  for  then  those  which  had 
tongues  the  most  like  men,  as  a  dog,  cat,  and 
other  quadrupeds,  would  speak  better  than  parrots. 

Quest.  —  From  what  principle  had  idolatry  its 
first  rise  ? 

Ans.  —  The  most  common  opinion  upon  the 
origin  of  idolatry  is,  that  it  began  by  adoration  of 
the  sun  and  stars ;  men  being  naturally  inclined 
to  respect  what  they  imagine  the  most  noble  ge- 
neral causes  of  their  felicity,  as  the  heavens  and 


40 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


the  stars ;  and  afterwards  they  came  to  pay  the 
same  homage  to  the  greater  part  of  those  objects 
which  contributed  to  their  preservation,  or  was 
able  to  do  them  any  harm.  This  opinion  would 
not  be  improbable,  if  man  had  been  the  work  of 
chance,  and  formed  after  the  extravagant  manner 
that  Epicurus  and  many  poets  have  imagined : — 
"  Gensque  viidm  truncis,  et  rupto  robore  nata 

and  if  they  were  the  authors  of  their  own  reli- 
gion. But  what  the  Scripture  tells  us  of  the  cre- 
ation of  the  world,  that  it  was  peopled  by  one 
man  only,  and  re-peopled  after  the  deluge  by 
only  one  family,  does  not  agree  very  well  with 
this  hypothesis.  From  thence  it  is  plain  that  the 
chief  care  of  the  Patriarchs  to  their  children  was, 
to  teach  them  that  whatever  we  see  was  the  work 
of  an  invisible  God,  and  that  no  creating  power 
could  be  attributed  to  any  thing  that  is  the  object 
of  our  senses.    It  is  not  very  likely  that  all  the 

nations  of  the  earth  should  so  soon  foroet  these  in- 
to 

structions,  and  so  easily  confound  the  Creator 
with  his  creatures,  nor  that  they  should  change 
their  God  and  Religion  all  of  a  sudden  ;  therefore 
idolatry  must  insensibly  be  introduced,  and  have 
taken  its  origin  from  some  false  explanations 
which  have  been  made  of  the  true  doctrine.  In 
the  beginning  they  only  adored  God ;  and  although 
in  the  time  of  the  Patriarchs,  to  whom  Angels 
often  appeared,  they  had  a  great  veneration  for 
these  celestial  spirits,  yet  they  carefully  distin- 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


41 


guished  this  respect  from  divine  adoration.  They 
beheved  also  soon  after  the  beginning  of  the 
world  that  the  souls  of  just  men,  after  their  death, 
were  placed  in  the  ranks  of  Angels,  and  by  degrees 
they  were  accustomed  to  look  upon  these  spirits 
as  beings  unto  whom  God  had  committed  a  part 
of  the  care  of  the  universe.  After  which  they 
came  to  think  that,  since  God  had  given  them  so 
much  power,  they  might  require  their  assistance, 
and  endeavour  to  make  them  favourable  to  them 
by  paying  them  a  religious  worship  ;  in  pursuance 
of  which,  they  immediately  erected  statues  to 
them,  and  celebrated  games  and  anniversary  feasts 
upon  the  day  of  their  death  ;  and  by  degrees  they 
came  to  set  up  altars,  consecrate  temples,  and 
offer  victims  to  them  ;  so  that  in  a  little  time 
the  world  was  full  of  divinities;  each  nation 
thinking  it  an  honour  to  have  more  of  them  than 
their  neighbours,  and  to  increase  the  number  of 
their  gods,  passed  among  them  as  a  mark  of  their 
intelligence.  This  was  a  mystery  which  the 
heathens  afterwards  thought  they  were  obliged  to 
hide  from  the  common  people,  although  the 
learned  among  them  were  not  ignorant  of  it. 
Hesiod  says  freely,  that  the  gods  were  good  mor- 
tals, who,  by  the  will  of  the  great  Jupiter,  were 
become  the  guardians  of  men,  and  distributed 
riches  and  the  good  things  of  this  world  to  them. 
St.  Austin  affirms,  upon  the  testimony  of  Varro, 
that,  in  all  the  writings  of  the  heathens,  it  would 


42 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


be  very  difficult  to  find  any  of  their  gods  who 
were  not  men.  Phny,  who  has  made  such  deep 
inquiries  into  antiquity,  speaking  of  Vespasian 
and  other  Roman  heroes,  which  had  been  placed 
in  the  number  of  the  gods,  says,  "  It  was  a  very 
ancient  custom  of  testifying  their  acknowledgment 
to  persons  of  merit  by  placing  them  in  the  num- 
ber of  the  gods;"  and  as  for  the  names  of  all  other 
divinities,  they  owed  their  birth  to  the  splendid 
actions  of  men^  as  may  be  seen  in  consulting  Isi- 
dorus  of  Seville. 


Quest. — How  came  the  Continent  of  America 
and  the  Islands  adjoining,  to  be  inhabited  at  first: 
for  surely  had  the  people  been  derived  from  any 
nation  of  the  then  known  world,  they  could  never 
have  lost  knowledge,  learning,  and  discipline,  to 
such  a  degree  ;  for  it  is  said  they  had  not  the 
use  of  letters  ? 

Ans, — Noah  and  his  family,  having  been  accus- 
tomed to  the  ark,  would  doubtless  from  thence 
build  some  sort  of  vessels,  at  least  for  coasting 
along  shores;  and  when  they  were  increased,  and 
spread  over  the  Northern  parts  of  Europe,  might 
very  probably  be  transported  by  contrary  winds, 
or  tempests,  from  Denmark  or  Scotland,  to  the 
Northern  parts  of  America,  it  being  no  great  dis- 
tance. This  will  appear  still  more  probable  if  we 
consider  that  earthquakes,  tempests,  &c.  have 
caused  those  strange  alterations  in  the  face  of  Na- 


HISTORY  AND   PHILOSOPHY.  43 

ture,  that  many  countries  are  now  covered  with 
water  that  were  formerly  land,  and  many  that 
are  now  land  were  covered  with  water ;  that  some 
are  separated  by  the  sea,  as  England  and  France, 
which  formerly  lay  together — of  which  we  meet 
with  many  examples  in  consulting  the  most  an- 
cient geography.  Then  the  question  will  not  any 
longer  be  involved  with  that  difficulty.  As  for 
their  ignorance,  it  is  no  argument  for  or  against 
their  being  or  not  being  the  sons  of  Noah.  The 
greatest  part  of  Africa,  and  especially  Southward, 
are  al  too  ether  as  illiterate  as  those  in  America, 
and  generally  more  savage. 

Quest. — What  is  a  perfect  number  ? 

Ans. — A  perfect  number  is  that  which  is  equal 
to  all  its  aliquot  parts  added  together  ;  according 
to  this  definition,  6  is  a  perfect  number,  because, 
if  you  take  its  aliquot  parts,  which  are  ],  2,  3, 
their  sum  will  be  equal  to  6;  again  28  is  a  perfect 
number,  because  its  aliquot  parts,  1,  2,  4,  7,  14, 
added  together,  make  28.  Now  if  you  will  find 
as  many  of  them  as  you  please,  take  the  following 
progression,  1,  2,  4,  8,  \6,  32,  &c.  which  it  is 
easy  to  continue  in  doubling  every  last  term  ;  — 
choose  in  this  progression  any  one  term,  subtract 
unity  from  it ;  if  the  remainder  is  a  prime  num- 
ber, multiply  this  remainder  by  the  term  imme- 
diately preceding,  the  product  will  be  a  perfect 
number;  but  if  the  remainder  is  no  prime  num- 


44 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


ber,  you  must  choose  another  term.  This  rule 
will  be  made  clear  by  some  instances ;  take  the 
term  4,  subtract  unity  from  it,  the  remainder  is 
3,  which  being  multiplied  by  the  term  imme- 
diately proceeding,  viz.  2,  the  product  6  is  a  per- 
fect number ;  again,  take  the  term  8,  subtract 
unity  from  it,  the  remainder  is  7,  multiply  this 
remainder  by  4,  the  product  is  28,  which  is  a  per- 
fect number.  But  if  you  would  take  l6,  because, 
having  taken  unity  from  l6,  the  remainder,  I5,  is 
no  prime  number,  the  product  of  15,  by  8,  will 
not  be  a  perfect  number;  therefore,  take  the  fol- 
lowing term,  32,  and  working  as  is  prescribed, 
you  will  find  496  for  another  perfect  number. 

Quest.  —  A  lady  who  is  extremely  troubled 
with  corns  desires  to  know  the  reason  ? 

jl7is. — Alas,  poor  lady  1  There  may  be  many 
weighty  reasons  assigned  for  this  sore  calamity. 
Perhaps  her  hard  heart  has  infected  her  toes,  and 
made  them  as  obdurate  as  herself;  or  else  the  little 
wag  Cupid  is  taking  his  vengeance  upon  her  for 
having  murdered  some  of  his  humble  servants,  and 
is  turning  her  into  stone  for  a  flinty-hearted  crea- 
ture, as  his  cousin  Apollo  served  Niobe ;  and  she 
is  now  dying  upwards  as  Daphne's  poor  toes  rooted 
in  the  ground,  and  if  she  appeases  not  the  little 
angry  god  quickly,  she  must  in  a  few  days  expect 
to  be  perfect  plaster  of  Paris. 


HISTORY   AND   PHILOSOPHY.  45 

Quest. — Pray  prescribe  rules  to  please  a  pas- 
sionate father,  and  to  break  myself  of  being  pas- 
sionate;  which  is  not  easy,  because  I  take  my 
blood  from  him  ? 

Ans. — Never  cross  him  when  he  is  angry;  ne- 
ver do  any  tiling  that  looks  like  a  slight  upon 
him  ;  be  ready  to  obey  his  commands,  and  re- 
member he  is  your  father.  For  yourself,  it  is 
sure  enough  that  the  inclinations  we  receive  from 
our  parents  are  to  be  conquered  by  industry  and 
reason,  though  example  teaches  more  forcibly 
than  either.  Do  but  observe  then  how  your  fa- 
ther looks  when  he  is  passionate,  how  he  ex- 
poses himself,  and  what  weak  things  he  speaks 
and  does  ;  and  always  reflect  upon  these,  three 
minutes  and  three  quarters,  precisely,  by  your 
watch,  whenever  you  feel  yourself  inclined  to  pas- 
sion ;  and  this  alone,  we  should  think,  as  it  is  a 
very  proper,  so  would  prove  an  efficacious  re- 
medy. 

Quest, — How  long  has  the  invention  of  guns 
been  in  the  world  ? 

Ans. — According  to  the  Portugal  relations,  the 
gun  was  invented  anno  Christi  85,  in  the  king- 
dom of  China,  where  most  other  inventions  be- 
gan, by  one  of  their  kings  named  Urtey ;  but  it 
appeared  not  in  Europe  till  1350,  when  it  was 
found  out  by  one  Bertoldu,  a  German,  occa- 
sioned by  an  accident  which  lie  saw  happen  in  a 


46 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


mixture  of  sulphur  and  nitre  inclosed  in  a  vessel 
over  the  fire,  in  making  an  experiment  in  che- 
mistry. 

Quest, — Sailing  down  the  River  Medvvay  from 
Chatham  to  Sheerness,  about  six  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  there  appeared  a  strange  sun,  I  ob- 
served, about  28  degrees  from  the  true  sun  to  the 
South,  and  both  of  an  equal  distance  from  the  ho- 
rizon ;  the  sky  was  a  little  overcast,  yet  not  so 
much  but  that  the  true  sun  shined  pretty  clearly; 
the  false  one  was  much  inferior  to  it  for  lustre, 
yet  seemed  to  have  the  same  dimensions  and  mo- 
tion ;  it  continued  about  three  quarters  of  an  hour, 
and  vanished  gradually.  From  whence  did  this 
proceed  ? 

Ans. — The  sun  fills  the  air  with  its  images, 
which  pass  through  the  same,  unless  they  be  re- 
flected by  some  body  that  is  smooth  and  resplen- 
dent in  its  surface,  but  opaque  at  the  bottom  ; 
such  are  looking-glasses,  and  also  water,  whether  it 
be  upon  the  earth  or  in  the  clouds.  Now  when 
a  smooth  cloud  that  is  ready  to  fall  down  into 
rain  happens  to  be  opposite  the  sun,  it  repre- 
sents the  figure  or  image  of  the  sun  ;  and  if  there 
happen  to  be  another  opposite  to  this  first,  it  re- 
flects the  figure — in  the  same  manner  as  a  looking- 
glass,  opposite  to  that  wherein  we  look,  receives 
the  image  from  the  former,  and  represents  the 
same.    If  no  one  wonders  to  see  the  represents- 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  47 

tion  of  the  sun  here  below  in  clear  water^  or  any 
other  resplendent  body,  it  can  be  no  great  wonder 
that  the  same  sun  imprints  his  image  as  well  on 
high  as  below  ;  not  in  one  cloud  only  or  two,  but 
in   many,   as  Pliny  observes  he  himself  saw. 
This  multiplicity  of  suns,  which  are  called  Par- 
helii,  generally,  though  not  always,  happens  ei- 
ther about  the  rising  or  setting  of  the  sun  ;  be- 
cause the  refraction  which  is  necessary  for  seeing 
them  is  not  so  well  made  to  our  eyes  when  the 
sun  is  in  the  meridian.    Also  when  the  sun  is  in 
the  meridian  he  produces  more  heat,  and  does 
not  allow  the  cloud  any  time  to  stay,  but  dissolves 
it  as  soon  as  it  becomes  opposite  to  him  ;  which 
he  does  not  at  his  rising  or  setting,  being  then 
more  weak.    The  same  cause  that  shews  us  two 
or  three  suns  did  also  represent  three  moons, 
under  the  Consulship  of  C.  Domitius  and  C.  Fla- 
minius  ;  as  also  three  other,  which  appeared  in  the 
year  1315  for  three  months  together ;  which  im- 
pression is  called  Paroselene,  and  cannot  be  made 
but  at  full  moon. 


Quest, — Of  all  callings  and  employments  which 
are  the  most  cleanly,  neat,  and  genteel  ? 

Ans, — The  most  cleanly  is  the  dust-cart-man  ; 
the  neatest  the  barber ;  the  genteelest  the  taylor. 


Quest. — What  is  thought  ? 

^w*,— It  is  the  act  of  the  mind,  or  rather  the 


48 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


effect  of  that  act ;  an  Ens  Rationis,  produced  by 
reflex,  the  \Gvy  working  of  the  soul,  as  being  of 
the  essence  of  mind,  or  immaterial  substance, 
and  consequently  is  actually  inseparable  from  it, 
without  annihilation.  Though  this  very  effect 
is  not  to  be  discovered  without  particular  reflec- 
tion, we  often  enough  think  at  random,  without 
knowing  precisely  what  we  think  of,  unless  we 
actually  rouse  our  minds,  and  reflect  upon  it. 

Quest. — I  am  the  father  of  several  children, 
and  am  very  desirous  to  bring  them  up  as  may  be 
most  to  their  advantage ;  and  hitherto  I  have  ob- 
served Solomon's  maxim,  not  to  spare  the  rod,  for 
fear  of  spoiling  the  child.  For  which  I  have  been 
much  blamed,  though  my  correction  has  always 
been  moderate  ;  but  my  accusers  argue  thus  :  the 
whipping  or  keeping  children  in  any  awe  de- 
stroys their  natural  courage,  dulls  their  under- 
standing, and  robs  them  of  that  presence  of  mind 
which  is  necessary  for  all  to  have.  I  desire  your 
opinion  concerning  the  correction  and  instruction 
of  children  ? 

— The  proper  educating  of  their  children 
ought  to  be  the  care  of  every  parent,  because 
many,  if  not  m.ost,  of  the  irregularities  of  youth, 
and  errors  and  mistakes  of  riper  years,  proceed 
from  the  want  of  it ;  but  so  much  wisdom  is  re- 
quisite to  be  able  rightly  to  correct  and  instruct 
young  persons,  that  it  is  not  strange  that  so  H^any 
fail  in  their  endeavours  to  perform  it.    There  are 


HISTORY   AND  PHILOSOPHY.  4^ 

but  few  general  rules  to  be  given ;  persons*  cir- 
cumstances, as  well  as  the  natural  genius,  and 
constitution  of  children,  differ  so  much.  It 
is  undoubtedly  the  best  way  to  begin  to  cor- 
rect them  for  their  little  faults,,  as  soon  as  they 
are  capable  of  knowing  they  ofTend.  Mode- 
rate and  just  correction  never  hurts  any,  though 
the  tempers  of  children  must  be  always  consi- 
dered ;  such  as  are  naturally  meek  or  heavy 
should  be  most  gently  dealt  with  ;  but  those  who 
are  obstinate  or  high-spirited  ought  to  be  se- 
verely corrected,  and  not  too  often,  though  when 
it  is  done  they  must  always  be  conquered.  A 
child  whipped  with  these  precautions  is  never  in- 
jured ;  but  when  it  is  merely  done,  as  too  often 
it  is,  only  to  satisfy  a  foolish  passion  in  a  parent, 
without  observing  the  just  limits;  as  sometimes 
beating  it  unmercifully  for  a  small  fault,  and  at 
another  time  overlooking  several  very  consider- 
able ones,  or  else  always  using  it  outrageously 
whether  the  crime  be  more  or  less.  This  the 
child  coming  in  course  of  time  to  perceive  ;  if  it 
be  of  a  soft  easy  temper,  it  often  discourages  it, 
and  makes  it  become  very  dull ;  and,  if  sour  and 
haughty,  it  makes  it  more  stubborn  and  disobe- 
dient. Children  are  also  capable  of  having  their 
judgments  instructed  and  manners  formed  much 
sooner  than  is  generally  thought,  as  we  have 
seen  in  those  of  some  persons  of  quality,  whose 
children  of  ten  or  twelve  years  of  age  have  been 


50 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


as  wise  as  youths  commonly  are  at  eighteen  or 
twenty.  There  must  also  be  encouragements 
used,  as  well  as  punishment,  to  make  them 
do  well ;  and  such  rewards  should  always  be 
given  them,  when  they  do  their  duty,  as  suits  the 
merit  of  the  action.  To  this  must  also  be  added 
the  good  example  of  those  w  ho  instruct  them  ;  a 
wise  tutor  never  does  any  thing  before  a  child 
which  he  would  correct  as  a  vice  in  him. 


Quest, — What  reason  can  you  give,  why  the 
Eastern  wind  should  be  so  much  colder  and 
sharper  than  the  Western,  seeing  both  are  parallel 
from  the  Sun  and  the  Equinox  ? 

Ans. — A  probable  reason  may  be  assigned  from 
the  places  from  whence  these  winds  come,  or 
which  they  visit  in  their  passage.  I'he  Eastern 
is  a  land-wind,  and  comes  over  vast  tracts  of  cold 
ground  before  it  reaches  our  climate.  The  West- 
ern comes  from  the  sea,  which  is  considerably 
warmer  than  the  land,  where  mixing  with  the  va- 
pours, which  are  accounted  the  cause  of  the 
warmth  of  islands,  it  may  come  less  sensibly 
cold,  than  that  which  arrives  from  the  contrary 
quarter. 

QweA'^.— What  is  the  greatest  happiness  a  man 
can  enjoy  in  the  world  r 

A)}^. — A  quiet  conscience  and  a  contented 
mind. 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


51 


Quest. — Why  is  Britain  represented  by  a  wo- 
man sitting  with  a  shield,  &c.  on  the  copper 
coins  ? 

Ans. — The  fancy  was  taken  from  some  old 
Roman  coins,  which  represented  Britain  in  the 
same  manner.  There  are  two  very  hke  in  Cam- 
den, Tab.  3.  both  of  Antoninus  Pius.  On  the 
reverse  of  the  one,  Britain  is  represented  sitting 
on  a  globe,  though  with  no  spear  nor  shield. 
On  the  other  she  is  in  the  same  posture,  though 
much  nearer  our  present  coins,  with  a  shield  under 
her  and  a  spear  in  her  hand,  only  in  the  shield  we 
have  now  added  the  cross.  Nor  need  the  querist 
go  any  further  than  Lilly's  rule,  for  a  reason  why 
Britain  is  made  a  woman,  since  Judea  and  all 
other  names  of  countries  or  regions  were  reckoned 
of  that  sex  and  gender. 

Quest. — Whether  it  be  possible  for  parents  to 
be  over-fond  of  their  children  ?  And  whether 
the  humour  of  some  parents  be  not  very  ridicu- 
lous, who  are  always  playing  with  their  children, 
and  talking  of  their  childish  employment  and 
actions  ? 

Ans. — We  suppose  the  fondness  here  intended 
is  that  of  parents  towards  their  children  when  in 
their  infancy,  when  the  honour  of  being  a  father 
first  comes  upon  them,  or  when  the  little  fools 
begin  first  to  talk  and  play  with  the  great  ones. 
To  which  we  reply,  that  to  be  always  employed 
E  2 


52  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

in  this  manner,  to  plague  others  with  the  perpetual 
relation  of  insipid  childish  follies,  or  to  betray  an 
extravagant  and  immoderate  affection  towards 
children,  all  these  extremes  are  equally  ridicu- 
lous. But  then  neither  do  we  here  condemn 
a  very  great  tenderness  and  complaisance  towards 
children,  not  even  though  it  should  sometimes  be 
in  private  expressed  by  such  actions  as  would* 
if  more  public,  appear  sufficiently  diverting. 

Socrates  told  Alcibiades,  who  caught  him  play- 
ing with  a  child,  and  laughed  at  him  heartily, 
that  he  would  do  well  to  suspend  his  censures 
till  he  was  himself  a  father.  There  have  been  m 
this  age  persons  of  prudence,  who  recommend  the 
conversation  with  children,  as  soon  as  they  begin 
to  shew  the  first  dawnings  of  reason,  as  extremely 
diverting,  as  well  as  innocent;  and  it  is  pity 
those  should  ever  have  any  of  their  own  who  do 
not  think  so.  There  is  nothing  in  the  world,  says 
Petrarch,  that  is  sweeter  or  more  agreeable  than 
the  little  prattlings  and  looks  of  an  infant.  The 
little  blessings  entertain  us,  in  their  way,  with  so 
much  sweetness  and  innocence,  that  nothing  but 
a  mere  barbarian  can  be  proof  against  it.  There 
being  besides  this  a  natural  tenderness  and  affec- 
tion which  is  due  from  any  person  to  that  which 
he  has  brought  into  the  world,  which  those  that 
want  may  learn  it  even  from  brute  creatures; 
though  the  trial  of  their  kindness,  and  the  chief 
instance  of  it,  is  in  giving  them  a  pious  and  in- 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPMr.  53 

genuous  education,  and  doing  nothing  before 
them  when  they  grow  up,  which  they  would  not 
have  them  practice.  It  is  only  to  observe  the 
mean  between  a  worse  than  brutal  neglect  of  chil- 
dren, or  aversion  for  them,  and  that  nauseous 
fondness  of  some  persons  towards  them,  which 
makes  them  appear  contemptible  and  ridiculous. 

Quest, — What  is  the  meaning  of  the  word 
Nature  ? 

Arts. — It  is  the  settled  course  of  things,  or 
steady  order  of  causes  and  effects  never  altered 
without  a  miracle. 

Quest, — What  is  the  reason  that,  when  we  move 
a  fire-stick  swiftly  round,  there  appears  to  be  a 
circle  of  fire,  although  the  fire  is  but  in  one  place 
at  a  time  ? 

Ans. — The  image  of  things  is  impressed  on 
the  brain  by  the  optic  power ;  and  so  long  as  that 
impression  remains,  we  believe  we  see  such  an 
image,  although  we  see  it  not  at  all.    Thus,  if  we 
fix  our  eyes  a  considerable  time  upon  a  window, 
and  immediately  turn  them  towards  some  darker 
place  we  may  plainly  distinguish  the  squares,  &c. 
which  is  nothing  but  the  image  in  the  brain. 
Now  the  brain  being  purely  passive,  it  is  impos- 
sible it  should  not  take  these  impressions,  whether 
from  real  or  apparent  objects,  as  it  is  impos- 
sible for  a  glass  not  to  take  reflections.    Thus  the 
fire  appears  circular,  as  in  the  question,  because 


54 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


it  moves  circularly.  Suppose  through  300  points 
the  eye  strives  to  catch  at  every  one  of  these 
points,  and  at  every  one  of  them  the  brain  re- 
ceives the  aforesaid  impression,  which  impression 
is  circular,  according  to  the  motion  of  the  fire ; 
and  the  fire  moving  quickly,  and  repeating  these 
points  several  times,  the  impression  is  more  sen- 
sible, and  not  lost  till  renewed  again,  which  there- 
fore appears  to  us  as  one  continued  circle. 

Quest, — Whether  cutting  off  the  bottom  root 
in  planting  of  trees,  as  is  usual,  does  not  more 
hurt  than  good  ? 

Ans. — No.  The  nearer  any  thing  is  to  indi- 
viduation, the  nearer  it  comes  to  the  nature  of 
immaterial  bearings,  and  by  consequence  is  the 
more  perfect ;  as,  for  instance,  a  long  sucker  acts 
not  only  to  maintain  itself,  but  the  whole  trunk 
for  which  it  acts ;  but  a  short  sucker  saves  so 
much  for  the  nourishment  of  the  trunk,  as  it 
spares  compared  to  a  longer. 

Quest. — I  am  about  nineteen  years  old,  and 
have  been  often  desired  by  my  friends,  who  1 
believe  are  pious  persons,  to  learn  to  dance, 
which  I  am  sensible  is  needful  to  teach  men 
how  to  behave  themselves  in  company;  but  I 
somewhat  question  the  lawfulness  of  it :  for  I 
take  it  to  be  an  institution  of  the  Pagans,  who, 
upon  the  days  of  their  sacrifices,  did  dance  before 
the  altars  of  their  gods;  as  also  condemned  by 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  55 

the  Fathers,  as  unlawful,  in  many  of  their  writings. 
Besides,  it  weakens  piety,  occasions  iil  thoughts, 
and  consequently  seems  a  breach  of  the  seventh 
commandment;  it  having  been  also  the  occasion 
of  many  bad  actions,  as  well  as  the  loss  of  time, 
which  we  ought  rather  to  employ  in  prayer,  and 
other  exercises  of  piety  and  devotion.  I  desire 
your  opinion  ? 

Ans, — Though  we  would  be  very  tender  of 
advancing  any  thing  that  should  have  an  ill  in- 
fluence on  manners,  which  are  already  but  too 
much  corrupted;  yet,  we  must  own,  we  think 
none  of  the  reasons  brought  in  the  question  con- 
clusive against  dancing.  As  for  the  first,  it  being 
a  Paganish  institution,  it  would  be  very  hard  to 
prove  it,  and  we  think  it  not  true ; — for,  first, 
dancing  seems,  in  some  sort,  natural.  It  is  dif- 
ficult not  to  leap  for  joy  ;  and  the  whole  body 
seems  almost  necessarily  to  folio v^^  the  motion  of 
the  spirits  and  blood,  when  more  brisk  and  lively 
than  ordinary ;  nor  can  the  reducing  of  steps  to 
order  be  any  more  hurtful  than  leaving  them 
without  order.  Now  this  natural  way  of  ex- 
pressing mirth,  which  is  also  a  healthful  exercise 
to  the  body,  was  in  process  of  time  made  use  of 
by  all  nations,  both  in  their  sacred  festivals  and 
on  civil  occasions.  It  was  used  in  the  festivals  of 
the  Jews  very  early ;  for  we  read  in  Exod.  xv. 
fO.  that  Miriam  the  Prophetess,  and  all  the 
women,  went  out  with  timbrels  and  with  dances. 


5 6  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

saying,  Sing  ye  to  the  Lord,"  &c.  And  it  is 
even  said,  Psalm  cxlix.  3,  "  Let  them  praise  his 
name  in  the  dance."  And  that  this  was  also  a 
civil  expression  of  joy,  common  among  the  na- 
tions even  before  Moses,  appears  from  that  of 
Job  xxi.  11,  where  he  mentions  the  dancing  of 
children  ;  and  this  dancing  was  also  a  civil  diver- 
sion, and  expression  of  joy  and  triumph,  among 
the  Jews.  The  daughters  of  Shiloh  went,  it 
seems,  to  dance  every  year,  only  for  their  diver- 
sion ;  and  it  was  promised  as  a  blessing  to  Israel, 
Jer.  xxxi.  13,  "Then  shall  the  virgin  rejoice  in 
the  dance,  both  young  men  and  old  together." 
And  dancing,  as  well  as  music,  is  mentioned  as 
customary  on  great  joy,  in  the  parable  of  the 
Prodigal.  The  Fathers,  we  own,  did  sometimes 
speak  angrily  against  it,  and  so  they  did  against 
usury  and  other  things ;  wherein,  though  we 
have  a  great  and  just  respect  both  for  their  piety 
and  judgment,  they  are  yet  generally  thought  to 
have  been  in  an  error,  but  by  none  ever  thought 
infallible.  For  the  weakening  of  piety,  it  must 
be  by  occasioning  ill  thoughts,  or  wasting  time, 
neither  of  which  are  necessary  effects  of  it,  any 
more  than  of  courtship  to  one  you  intend  to 
make  your  wife ;  but,  if  you  find  they  are,  you 
must  forbear  public  dancing,  and  yet  you  may  still 
be  privately  instructed  by  a  master  at  your  own 
chamber,  there  being  a  time  for  recreation  as 
well  as  severer  study  and  business ;  nay,  as  Solo- 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  57 

men  says,  "a  time  to  dance,  as  well  as  to  mourn." 
From  what  has  been  said,  we  think,  may  be 
deduced  a  full  answer  to  all  the  objections  the 
question  mentions ;  though  nothing  is  said  here 
for  immodest  dances,  or  devouring  too  much 
time  in  them,  which  is  equally  unlawful,  in  that 
or  any  other  recreation. 

Quest. — Why  are  mean  persons  coming  to 
honour  generally  prouder  and  less  obliging  than 
gentlemen,  &c.  who  have  had  better  birth  and 
education  ? 

Ans. — Because  a  courteous  and  genteel  beha- 
viour takes  a  long  time  to  be  well  learned,  and  is 
seldom  acquired  unless  men  begin  from  their 
very  infancy,  which  persons  of  quality  do;  and 
by  constant  conversation,  either  with  those  above 
them,  or  else  such  as  are  well  bred,  they  more 
easily  and  naturally  imitate  their  manners,  and 
can  at  least  command  their  outward  expressions 
and  behaviour.  Whereas,  on  the  contrary,  those 
who  have  had  a  mean  education  have  their 
minds  generally  rough,  and  still  savouring  of  their 
birth  and  breeding ;  both  because  a  habit  imbibed 
in  infancy  or  youth  is  with  great  difficulty  to  be 
conquered,  and  because  they  have  not  had  so 
much  time  or  opportunity  to  polish  their  words 
or  behaviour,  whence  they  may  sometimes  appear 
proud  when  they  really  are  not ;  there  being 
some  difference  between  pride  and  ill-breeding, 


58  THB  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

though  much  alike  and  very  near  a-kin.  But 
further,  when  such  persons  are  really  proud, 
they  have  not  perhaps  been  courtiers  long  enougli 
to  dissemble  and  hide  it.  Not  but  that  there 
are  exceptions  to  be  found  on  both  sides — per- 
sons well  born,  who  disgrace  both  their  birth 
and  education  by  ridiculous  pride,  which  they 
mistake  for  greatness  of  mind,  though  far  distant 
from  it;  and,  on  the  contrary,  there  are  of 
meaner  birth  and  parentage,  who,  by  the  force  of 
a  more  than  ordinary  genius,  have  soon  learnt  all 
the  finesses  of  conversation,  and  being  as  obliging 
and  well  tempered  as  any  in  the  world. 

Quest.  What  was  the  chief  cause  of  the  de- 
struction of  the  Empire  of  Constantinople. 

Ans. — Most  Historians  conclude  the  principal 
causes  to  have  been  the  divisions  of  the  Chris- 
tians, and  the  perfidy  and  cruelties  that  were 
exercised  by  many  of  them,  to  make  themselves 
masters  of  the  empire.  For  they  were  so  divided, 
that,  instead  of  thinking  how  they  might  unite 
against  the  common  enemy,  they  chiefly  em- 
ployed themselves  in  endeavouring  to  become 
great,  though  to  the  injury  of  each  other;  and 
thus,  in  violating  the  laws  of  Christianity,  they 
acted  against  true  policy,  which  happens  much 
oftener  than  men  are  aware  of. 


Quest,  —  I  am  willing  to  have  as  perfect  a 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


59 


knowledge  of  things  as  my  capacity  will  admit ; 
therefore  desire  to  know  whether  it  may  be  by  a 
general  or  particular  application  to  the  sciences  ? 

Ans. — Since  it  is  impossible  our  narrow  capa- 
cities should  be  able  to  receive  a  perfect  know- 
ledge of  all  things,  it  is  much  better  for  us  to 
limit  our  studies  to  one,  or  a  few,  that  our  assi- 
duous application  thereto  may  render  us  as  abso- 
lute masters  thereof  as  is  possible  to  be  attained  in 
this  world ;  for  by  the  pursuit  of  all  we  are  sure 
to  gain  but  a  superficial  knowledge.  But  were  it 
possible  for  us  by  a  long  tedious  enquiry  to  under- 
stand the  true  causes  of  every  production,  and  to 
discover  Nature  even  in  her  most  hidden  recesses, 
yet  our  happiness  would  be  defective;  since  pos- 
session only  would  avail  but  little  to  our  satisfac- 
tion, without  we  were  able  to  possess  and  enjoy 
that  knowledg^e.  So  that  it  is  not  enouo-h  to  have 
a  great  stock  of  notions,  without  we  were  able  to 
bring  them  to  practice  ;  and  this  is  better  done 
by  him  that  understands  one  thing  perfectly,  than 
by  him  that  has  a  confused  notion  of  all  things, 
which  is  knowing  a  little  of  every  thing,  and  of 
all  nothing ;  we  cannot  think  of  two  things  at  the 
same  time.  And  so  our  eye  and  mind  can  discern 
but  one  single  tree  in  a  forest,  one  branch  in  a 
tree,  nay  perfectly  but  one  single  leaf  in  a  branch ; 
the  reflection  of  the  mind,  like  that  of  the  eye, 
being  made  by  a  direct  line,  which  has  but  one 
point  of  incidence.    And  the  least  thing,  even 


60 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


the  least  part,  is  sufficient  to  employ  the  mind  of 
man ;  from  which  consideration  a  Philosopher 
once  exercised  his  wit  for  forty-three  years  upon 
an  emmet.  And  many  volumes  have  been  writ- 
ten upon  particular  animals  and  plants  ;  as  Apu- 
leius  busied  himself  about  an  ass ;  Crysippus  on 
a  cole-wort ;  Marcion  and  Diodes  upon  the  tur- 
nip and  rape  ;  Phanias  of  a  nettle  ;  Juba  on  Eu- 
phorbium,  &c.  And  although  all  persons  are  de- 
sirous of  knowledge,  yet  mens  inclinations  are 
very  different ;  and  some  take  to  one  study,  and 
some  to  another,  which  Nature  has  seemed  wisely 
to  provide  for  discovery  and  preservation  of  the 
sciences,  which  end  would  be  frustrated,  should 
we  inquire  after  new  ones  before  we  have  attained 
what  we  first  seek  after,  considering  the  shortness 
of  our  lives,  and  the  copiousness  of  the  arts ; 
wherefore  it  is  necessary  for  every  one  to  apply 
himself  to  what  he  is  most  naturally  inclined,  for 
thereby  men  have  only  become  famous.  As  Plato, 
instead  of  improving  philosophy  as  he  might  have 
done,  indulged  his  genius  in  studying  metaphy- 
sics, Socrates  morality,  Democritus  natural  philo- 
sophy, and  Archimedes  the  mathematics,  &c.;  and 
on  the  contrary,  some  persons  striving  to  be  uni- 
versal have  failed  in  excelling  in  any  thing. 


Quest. — What  degree  does  Silver  bear  amongst 
other  metals  ?  what  are  the  chief  properties  of  it. 


HISTORY  AND   PHILOSOPHY.  6l 


and  from  whence  is  it  that  we  have  the  greatest 
part  of  it  r 

j4ns.  —  Silver  is  the  finest  metal  in  the  world 
excepting  gold  ;  it  will  beat  very  thin,  and  stretch 
in  wire  beyond  any  sort  of  metal  but  gold,  even 
as  small  as  a  man's  hair.  It  will  not  rust,  but 
cankers  a  little  into  a  pale  blue,  consumes  some 
small  matter  in  melting ;  it  is  dissolvable,  like 
other  metals,  in  aquafortis  ;  and  a  thin  plate  of  it, 
as  a  great  or  lesser  piece,  rubbed  with  brimstone 
and  held  over  a  candle,  splits  and  moulders,  be- 
cause it  is  a  calcine,  the  powder  of  which  paints 
glass  yellow.  It  chiefly  comes  from  the  West 
Indies  and  High  (xermany,  being  dug  out  of 
mines  in  an  ore  not  much  unlike  lead  or  anti- 
mony, and  the  richer  veins  of  lead  are  said  to 
have  much  silver  in  them. 


Quest. — Of  Pythagoras,  Plato,  and  Aristotle, 
which  was  the  best  ? 

Ans. — You  had  done  well  to  have  told  us  whe- 
ther you  mean  the  best  Man,  or  the  best  Philoso- 
pher. Pythagoras,  as  far  as  we  know  of  him  at 
this  distance  of  time,  appears  to  have  been  the 
best  moralist  of  the  three,  especially  if  we  believe 
the  Golden  Verses,  like  the  Orphaies  of  Orpheus, 
to  contain  his  precepts.  But  then  his  philosophy 
was  whimsical  and  trifling.  Plato  talks  very 
handsomely  and  magnificently  of  divine  things, 
and  well  deserves  that  title  Antiquity  has  given 


62 


THE   ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


him.  But  then  he  is  magisterial  rather  than  ar- 
gumentative,  and  proceeds  more  upon  tradition 
than  reason.  Aristotle  appears  not  to  have  been 
over  moral,  nor  to  have  much  troubled  himself 
with  divinity  ;  but  yet  his  ethics,  as  to  theory, 
are  for  the  most  part  sound  and  practicable ;  he 
had  a  large  soul,  and  could  comprehend  any 
thing.  He  was  happier  than  either  of  the  others, 
in  having  for  his  patron  the  Conqueror  of  the 
world,  by  whose  assistance  he  made  experiments 
which  others  were  incapable  of ;  and  besides,  we 
still  read  with  admiration  his  rhetorick  and  his 
poetry,  which  show  he  was  a  person  of  extraordi- 
nary depth  of  judgment,  and  deep  insight  into 
mankind  and  the  affairs  of  life. 


Quest. — What  is  Happiness? 

Ans. — It  is  not  what  the  world  generally  sup- 
poses, since  there  are  so  many  disappointed  ;  and 
the  pretences  of  mankind  in  this  search  would,  to 
an  unconcerned  looker-on,  argue  that  men  are 
creatures  of  different  species.  It  was  not  without 
good  reason  that  the  ingenious  Earl  of  Rochester, 
in  his  Satire  against  man,  concludes  that  some 
men  differ  more  from  others  than  others  do 
from  beasts;  meaning,  as  is  evident  by  what  pre-  , 
cedes,  that  the  really  pious  few,  that  believe  and 
live  well,  have  not  only  their  pretences,  but  ideas 
of  things,  very  different  from  those  of  other  men, 
whose  souls  are  immersed  in  sense,  and  lost  in 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  6^ 

body.  Those  that  know  the  world  most  are  the 
best  judges  of  the  dissatisfactions  and  disappoint- 
ments that  every  one  complains  of.  Here  is  one 
who  promises  himself  a  large  share  of  felicity  by 
purchasing  such  an  estate,  another  this  prefer- 
ment, a  third  by  the  possession  of  that  cruel  fair- 
one,  &c. ;  and  if,  by  an  unwearied  industry,  or, 
in  respect  of  us,  an  adventitious  occurrence,  the 
business  is  accomplished,  we  are  yet  either  where 
we  were,  wishing  for  something  else  under  the 
same  impatience,  or  labouring  under  the  too  late 
repentance  of  disappointments.  And  the  reason 
is  evident,  for  we  put  false  values  upon  things  at 
a  distance,  and  fix  the  whole  of  our  inclinations 
upon  unproportional  objects.  As  no  man  smells 
with  his  eyes  or  ears,  or  tries  sounds  with  his 
nose,  so  no  wise  man  will  stamp  an  unjust  esti- 
mate upon  the  pleasures  of  sense,  and  the  actions 
wherein  his  body  is  mostly  concerned.  It  is  the 
pleasures  of  a  well-informed  mind,  and  the  reflec- 
tions of  just  and  virtuous  actions,  that  gives  a  title 
to  what  our  querist  call  Happiness.  Every  crea- 
ture is  made  for  some  end ;  and  if  this  order  he 
inverted,  such  a  creature  is  abused,  or  made  in 
vain.  The  end  of  man  was,  to  know,  love,  and 
enjoy  his  Maker ;  and  where  this  conformity 
holds,  there  ensues  a  happiness  proportionable  to 
the  measure  of  those  ;  —  and  this  is  what  we  un- 
derstand by  Happiness. 


1 


^4  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

Quest. — Is  there  any  cure  for  Stammering,  and 
what  is  it  ? 

Ans. — There  is;  for  we  have  known  it  cured  in 
several  instances.  There  are  more  ways  than  one 
to  do  it ;  the  first  is,  repeating  many  hard  words 
dehberately  several  times  a  day ;  and  for  preven- 
tion, never  speaking  in  haste.  The  other,  keeping 
a  pebble  or  some  such  thing  in  your  mouth,  and 
speaking  or  reading  with  it  there. 

Quest. — Was  there  such  a  man  as  Hercules  ? 

Ans. — In  the  time  that  Deborah  and  Barac 
were  Judges  of  Israel,  a  Phoenician  merchant, 
named  Alcides,  who  was  born  in  Boeotia,  and 
who,  it  is  supposed,  was  our  very  Hercules,  un- 
dertook great  voyages,  sometimes  alone,  and 
sometimes  in  company  ;  some  upon  his  own  ac- 
count, and  others  by  commission.  He  established 
many  Colonies  ;  and  as  Greece  was  not  yet  well 
peopled,  so  in  many  places  the  new  inhabitants 
were  obliged  to  take  a  great  deal  of  pains  to  de- 
fend themselves,  as  well  from  wild  beasts  as  the 
injuries  of  the  air.  In  that  time,  there  were  many 
young  men  that  kept  and  fed  the  tamer  beasts, 
that  had  successfully  accustomed  themselves  to 
the  fighting  with  bears  and  lions.  Alcides  had  at 
eighteen  years  of  age  killed  a  lion  in  a  mountain 
of  Boeotia  who  had  made  a  great  ravage  in  the 
Theban  flocks  ;  on  which  the  king  of  that  place 
gave  in  marriage  to  him,  or  to  his  men,  his  daugh- 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 

ters  ;  and  Alcides  used  afterwards  to  wear  the 
skin  of  the  Hon  he  had  slain  for  a  cloak.  He 
likewise  killed  another  lion  in  the  forest  of  Ne- 
mea,  which,  by  the  order  of  the  king  of  Mycena, 
he  had  chased  into  some  park,  where  he  conti- 
nued a  longtime,  and  there  established  the  power- 
ful colony  of  the  Heraclidas,  which  signified  mer- 
chants. This  colony  delivered  the  country  from 
many  venomous  animals,  and  made  themselves 
famous  by  hunting  the  wild  boars  and  savage 
bulls  of  the  mountains. 

After  this  Alcides  left  his  colony  in  Peloponnes- 
sus,  and  returned  to  Thebes  ;  but  departing  upon 
some  business  in  his  travels,  Eurytus,  Prince  of 
Ecalia,  promised  to  give  his  daughter  to  him  that 
best  drew  the  bow.  Alcides  presented  himself, 
and  made  it  appear  that  he  was  the  most  expert 
in  that  exercise ;  but  the  king  kept  not  his  word, 
under  pretence  that  the  Phoenicians  had  been  ac- 
customed to  sacrifice  their  own  children ;  yet 
Iphitus,  the  king's  son,  became  a  friend  to  Alci- 
des, whom  Alcides  afterw^ards  killed  in  a  quarrel; 
for  which  murder  he  fled  to  Laconia,  where  the 
prince  of  the  place  purified  him  according  to  the 
manner  of  that  time  by  plunging  him  in  a  river; 
but  falling  sick,  he  thought  the  gods  were  angry 
with  him  for  the  murder,  and  therefore  resolved 
to  consult  a  famous  priest  that  lived  at  Delphos. 
He  told  Alcides  that,  to  cure  his  infirmity,  he  must 
quit  Greece,  and  make  satisfi\ction  to  Eurytus. 

F 


66'  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

This  advice  he  intended  to  follow  ;  but  being  ar- 
rived on  the  coasts  of  Asia,  he  was  made  a  slave 
by  some  subjects  of  Omphales  queen  of  Lydia, 
where  he  continued  three  years ;  in  which  time 
he  made  some  famous  voyages,  and  in  one  of  them 
at  last  discovered  some  Phoenician  vessels,  which 
he  joined^  and^  upon  his  making  himself  known  to 
them,  they  delivered  him  from  his  captivity.  He 
went  not  very  far,  but  stopped  in  Mysia,  where  he 
established  a  colony ;  but  the  riches  of  Phrygia 
raised  an  envy  in  the  Phoenicians  that  were  in 
Mysia,  and  put  them  in  mind  of  besieging  some 
advantageous  fort  near  Troy,  and  establish  them- 
selves there  ;  to  which  end  they  equipped  a  little 
fleet  of  eighteen  vessels,  that  they  themselves  had 
built,  and  went  under  the  conduct  of  Alcides;  but 
the  repulse  of  the  enemy,  and  some  divisions 
amongst  themselves,  made  them  soon  leave  the 
place.  Alcides,  returning  from  thence  into  Greece, 
was  again  engaged  in  wars  to  defend  his  colony  at 
Peloponnessus.  He  a  little  after  died  upon  a 
mountain  of  Thessaly,  called  CEta,  where  his  body 
was  burnt,  as  was  then  the  custom  of  that  coun- 
try ;  and  because  of  his  mighty  actions,  he  was 
placed  amongst  the  number  of  the  gods.  And 
although  all  these  things  were  not  done  by  him- 
self only,  because  he  was  the  chief,  he  had  the 
honour  of  all  enterprizes.  Besides  the  name  of 
Alcides,  or  Alceus,  that  he  had  from  his  infancy, 
he  was  called  Herokel,  which  the  Greeks  made 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  6j 

Heracleis,  and  the  Latins  Hercules.  It  is  a  Phoe- 
nician word,  which  signifies  merchant.  And  in- 
deed Alcides  did  nothing  else  but  establish  Phoeni- 
cian colonies,  or  make  the  negotiations  of  those 
more  flourishing  that  drew  their  origin  from  Phoe- 
nicia. 


Quest. — Why  does  the  fruit  of  a  tree  in  graft- 
ing always  take  after  the  scion,  and  not  after  the 
root  ? 

Ans. — ^The  juice  which  ascends  from  the  earth 
for  the  nourishment  of  the  tree  is  the  same  in  all 
trees  ;  but  their  particular  fruits,  and  their  diflfer- 
ent  formation,  seem  to  depend  on  the  internal  dis- 
position of  those  more  immediate  parts  from 
whence  they  are  produced.  Thus  we  see,  not 
only  very  good  fruits  raised  from  a  thorn,  and 
good  apples  from  a  crab-stock,  but  several  sorts  of 
fruit  on  the  same  tree ;  which  seems  evidently  to 
demonstrate  that  those  fine  meatuses,  or  channels, 
in  the  graft  form  those  juices  which  the  root  re- 
ceives from  the  earth  according  to  their  own  na- 
ture, and  thence  produce  their  own  proper  fruits ; 
as  seals,  or  rather  moulds,  instamp  such  impres- 
sions on  a  large  piece  of  wax,  not  as  it  had  be- 
fore, but  as  they  themselves  represent.  One  and 
the  same  trunk  will  give  nutriment  to  apples^ 
pears,  and  all  sorts  of  fruits  that  have  pippins  in 
them,  but  not  to  stoned  fruit,  as  plumbs,  apri- 
cots, &c.  which  are  of  a  different  species. 


6S 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


Quest.  —  From  what  cause  proceeds  the  shell 
that  covers  the  snail  ? 

^ns. — From  the  same  cause  that  the  nails  of  a 
man's  fingers  proceed,  namely,  from  moisture ; 
which  is  also  the  cause  of  hair  ;  and  as  a  man's 
finger  shapes  the  nail  growing  out  of  it,  so  the 
body  of  the  snail  shapes  the  shell,  or  horn,  which 
receives  its  nourishment  from  that  part  or  knot 
whereby  it  is  fastened  to  the  snail. 

Quest,  —  How  was  it  that  they  formerly  pre- 
served bodies  for  so  long  a  time  without  their 
corrupting? 

Ans. — The  antients  were  so  careful,  not  only 
of  preserving  the  images  of  their  forefathers,  but 
also  of  keeping  their  bodies,  that  they  variously 
embalmed  them.  The  Grecians  washed  them  in 
wine  mingled  with  warm  water,  and  then  put  them 
into  oil  of  olives,  honey,  or  wax.  The  Ethio- 
pians first  salted  them,  and  then  put  them  into 
vessels  of  glass.  In  the  Canary  Islands  they  sea- 
soned them  in  the  sea,  and  afterwards  dried  them 
in  the  sun.  The  Scythians  placed  them  upon 
mountains  covered  with  snow,  or  in  the  coolest 
caves.  The  Indians  covered  them  with  ashes.  The 
Egyptians,  believing  that  corrupted  bodies  rose 
not  again,  and  that  the  soul  was  sensible  of  the 
body's  corruption,  were  as  curious  in  their  pre- 
servation as  any  nation  whatever;  they  filled  them 
with  myrrh,  cinnamon,  and  other  spices,  or  with 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  6^ 

oil  of  cedar;  then  tliey  salted  them  with  nitre, 
whose  acrimony  consumed  all  the  superfluous  hu- 
midities which  caused  putrefaction. 

Quest, — What  is  Anger  ? 

Ans. — Anger  is  a  passion  caused  by  the  appre- 
hension of  a  present  evil,  which  may  be  repelled, 
but  with  some  difficulty ;  its  principle  is  the  soul, 
its  instrument  the  spirits,  its  matter  the  blood,  its 
seat  the  heart.  It  proceeds  from  a  temper  of 
body  hot  and  dry,  and  easy  to  be  inflamed,  or 
from  the  diversity  of  seasons,  times,  ages,  and 
sex.  Hence  the  choleric  and  young  persons  are 
more  inclined  to  it  than  the  phlegmatic  and  aged, 
because  they  have  a  temper  more  proper  to  this 
passion.  Women  and  children  are  easily  dis- 
pleased, through  weakness  of  mind;  as  it  is  a  sign 
of  a  sublime  spirit  not  to  be  troubled  at  any 
thing,  but  to  believe  that  as  every  thing  is  below 
itself,  so  nothing  is  capable  of  hurting  it ;  which 
reason  Aristotle  made  use  of  to  appease  the  rage 
of  Alexander,  telling  him,  "  he  ought  never  to  be 
incensed  against  his  inferiors,  but  only  against  his 
equals  or  superiors ;  and,  there  being  none  that 
could  equal  him,  much  less  surpass  him,  he  had 
no  cause  of  anger."  Anger  is  one  of  the  most  de- 
formed and  monstrous  passions,  so  violent  that  it 
causes  the  face  to  look  pale,  afterwards  red  ;  the 
eye  sparkles,  the  voice  trembles,  the  pulse  beats 
with  violence,  the  hair  becomes  stiff,  the  mouth 


70  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

foams,  the  teeth  gnash,  the  hand  cannot  hold; 
the  mind  is  no  longer  in  its  own  power,  hut  is  be- 
side itself  for  some  time,  anger  not  differing  from 
rage,  but  in  duration ;  which  made  a  philosopher 
tell  his  servant,  "  he  would  chastise  him  if  he  were 
not  angry and  the  Emperor  Theodosius  com- 
manded his  officers  never  to  execute  any  person 
by  his  orders  till  about  three  days  ;  and  Xenodo- 
rus  advised  Augustus  never  to  determine  any  thing 
when  he  found  himself  angry,  till  he  had  first  softly 
repeated  the  twenty-four  letters  of  the  Greek  al- 
phabet. And  indeed,  if  this  passion  be  not  re- 
pressed,  it  transports  a  man  so  out  of  himself  that 
he  is  incensed,  not  against  men  only,  but  even 
against  beasts,  plants,  and  inanimate  things ;  as 
Ctesiphon,  who  in  great  fury  fell  to  kicking  with 
a  mule ;  and  Xerxes,  who  scourged  the  sea.  And 
it  even  reduces  men  to  such  brutality,  that  they 
fear  not  to  lose  themselves  for  ever,  if  they  can 
hut  be  revenged  on  those  that  have  offended  them. 

Quest,  —  Which  may  be  most  easily  resisted, 
Pleasure  or  Pain  ? 

ylns. — If  Pleasure  be  considered  as  a  good,  and 
Pain  as  an  evil,  it  is  clear  the  latter  is  as  insuj)- 
portable  as  the  former  is  agreeable.  But  there 
are  two  sorts  of  good  and  evil,  pain  and  pleasure, 
one  of  the  mind,  the  other  of  the  body ;  and  fre- 
quently the  pains  and  sufferings  of  the  body  are 
the  joys  of  the  mind  ;  and  the  pleasures  and  gr-a^ 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  ?! 

tifications  of  the  flesh,  the  crosses  and  torments  of 
the  spirit.  Now  there  are  scarcely  any  pure  and 
unmixed  pleasures  or  pains  in  the  world ;  they 
are  usually  mingled  one  with  the  other ;  and  if 
they  could  be  separated,  pain  would  turn  the  scale, 
as  being  the  more  heavy  and  difficult  to  be  sup- 
ported. In  reference  to  which  mixture,  the  Greek 
poet  judiciously  feigned  that  there  are  two  vessels 
at  the  entrance  of  heaven,  one  full  of  honey  and 
sweetness,  the  other  full  of  gall  and  bitterness; 
of  which  two  liquors  mingled  together  Jupiter 
makes  all  to  drink,  and  tempers  with  them  every 
thing  he  pours  down  here  below  ;  so  that  the 
pains  and  pleasures  of  the  mind  or  the  body  being 
moderate,  and  indifferently  tempered  with  each 
of  those  liquors,  may  be  supported  by  men. 
Pleasure  and  good,  as  the  more  natural,  much 
more  easily  than  evil  and  pain,  which  are  destruc- 
tive to  Nature  :  but  when  both  of  them  are  ex- 
treme, and  the  sweetness  of  pleasure  is  not  abated 
by  any  little  mixture  of  unhappiness,  nor  the  bit- 
terness of  misfortunes  lessened  by  small  satisfac- 
tions, then  men  cannot  relish  this  potion,  because 
they  are  not  accustomed  to  things  pure  and  sin- 
cere, but  to  confusion  and  mixture,  and  cannot 
bear  the  excess  of  joy  or  grief,  the  extremes  of 
which  are  found  to  be  fatal. 

In  the  first  place,  with  respect  to  Grief ; — Li- 
cinus,  finding  himself  condennned  for  cheating  the 
public,  died  with  regret;  Fabius,  because  he  was 


72  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

cited  before  the  tribunes  of  the  people  for  vio- 
lating the  laws  of  nations  ;  Juha,  Caesar  s  daugh- 
ter, at  the  sight  of  the  bloody  garnaents  of  her 
husband  Pompey  ;  and  one  of  the  sons  of  Gilbert 
duke  of  Monpensier,  going  into  Italy,  died  upon 
the  sepulchre  of  his  father,  which  he  went  thither 
to  see. 

And  as  for  Joy,  besides  our  own  experience, 
many  remarkable  examples  shew  the  excess 
of  it  as  deadly.  Diagorus  Rhodius,  seeing  his 
three  sons  victorious  in  one  day  at  the  Olym- 
pic games,  died  with  joy.  The  like  fate  also  be- 
fel  Chino  the  Lacedaemonian,  upon  the  same  vic- 
tory of  one  of  his  sons.  Dionysius  the  Tyrant  of 
Sicily,  and  the  Poet  Sophocles,  having  heard  that 
they  had  won  the  bays  for  tragedies,  died  both 
immediately  ;  and  so  did  the  Poet  Philippides, 
upon  winning  that  for  comedies.  Zeuxis  the 
Painter,  as  before-mentioned,  having  drawn  the 
picture  of  an  old  woman  very  oddly,  died  with 
laughing  at  it.  Sinus,  a  Turkish  general,  upon 
the  recovery  of  his  only  son,  whom  he  thought 
lost;  Leo  the  Tenth,  upon  taking  Milan,  which 
he  had  passionately  desired,  died  for  joy. 

Thus  both  these  passions  have  great  resemblance 
in  their  excesses  ;  they  equally  transport  a  man  be- 
vond  the  bounds  of  reason  ;  the  one  by  its  agrees 
ableness  makes  him  forget  himself,  and  the  other 
by  its  bitterness  leads  him  to  despair.  Grief  de- 
stroys life,  either  by  the  violent  agitation  of  the 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  73 

spirits,  or  by  their  condensation,  which,  stopping 
the  passages,  hinders  breathing,  from  whence 
follow  suffocation  and  death.  Pleasure  and  joy 
produce  the  same  effect  by  contrary  causes, 
namely,  by  too  great  a  dilatation  of  the  spirits, 
which  causes  weakness,  and  that  weakness  death. 

And  since  they  may  be  both  so  fatal  to  you, 
if  you  are  not  past  that  foolish  age — when  you 
choose  a  mistress,  let  her  be  wise  and  good,  that 
she  may  know  how  to  prevent  your  dying  with 
joy,  and  have  too  much  compassion  to  suffer  you 
to  die  of  grief,  though  we  believe  the  last  generally 
the  least  fatal. 


Quest, — What  is  Time? 

Ans.  —  It  is  the  duration  of  a  creature,  mea- 
sured by  the  revolution  of  the  heavenly  bodies. 
Duration,  and  that  successive,  because  it  is  of  a 
creature,  whereby,  first,  the  present  moment  is 
excluded,  being  only  the  term  of  time,  not  time 
itself;  and  then  it  is  implied  that  time  is  incompa- 
tible with  an  uncreated  being,  who,  as  all  sound 
Philosophers  and  Divines  have  ever  held,  has  no 
succession,  no  parallax,  or  tropical  conversion, 
which  we  render,  no  variableness,  nor  shadow  of 
turning.'*  By  creature  here,  we  mean  all  created 
beings,  the  whole  system  or  frame  of  visibles, 
and  even  invisibles,  which  ever  began  to  be; 
time  in  general  being  the  complex  measure  of 
their  duration,  taken  from  end  to  end,  and  the 


74  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

best  particular  measure  we  have  of  this  duration 
being  the  repeated  revolutions  of  tlie  heavenly 
bodies:  so  that,  if  there  were  any  created  beings 
before  this  world  was  made,  as  it  is  probable  there 
were,  at  least  Angels,  we  can  in  general  apply  suc- 
cessive duration  to  their  existence ;  though  it  is 
owned  we  cannot  the  measure  of  any  heavenly  or 
earthly  bodies  actual  revolution,  because  then  no 
such  bodies ;  though,  like  the  Julian  period,  we 
can  set  the  watch  a  little  backward^  and  make 
time  intrude  upon  eternity  in  supposition,  we 
mean  so,  as  to  say  there  were  so  many  actual  du- 
rations, so  many  instants  passed  from  their  crea- 
tion to  the  creation  of  the  world,  as  would  have 
made  so  many  days  or  years  greater  or  less  than 
any  number  given. 

Quest, — Nothing  is  in  all  languages  a  noun 
substantive :  now  a  noun  is  the  name  of  a  thing, 
that  may  be  seen,  felt,  heard,  or  understood ;  and 
how  can  any  part  of  that  description  agree  to  No- 
thing ?  I  desire  your  serious  answer  herein,  and 
the  definition  of  Nothing ;  and  opinion,  whether 
it  may  properly  be  called  a  noun  substantive  ? 

Jns, — Nothing  is  000,000,000,000,000,  &c.; 
wherein,  it  is  a  plain  case,  are  included  all  things 
that  are  necessary  to  a  complete  definition ;  for 
there  is  first  its  genius,  which  is  0 ;  and  then  its 
difference,  both  essential  0,  and  accidental  0  ;  nay, 
all  the  train  of  little  tiny  accidents  that  wait  upon 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  75 

the  ancient  family  of  the  Nothings,  clearly  and 
distinctly  marshaled  according  to  their  respective 
ranks  and  titles,  as  0 — 0 — 0 — 0  ;  and,  lest  others 
of  them  should  take  it  amiss  for  being  neglected 
or  excluded,  a  long  &c.  is  left  for  a  back-door  to 
all  the  rest. 

But,  in  order  to  answer  this  question,  we  must 
now,  like  bad  disputants,  be  forced  to  distinguish 
after  we  have  defined. 

There  are  three  sorts  of  nothings  ;  one  nothing 
which  is  something ;  another  nothing  between  no- 
thing and  something  ;  and  a  third  nothing,  which 
is  nothing.  This  may  make  people  stare  that  are 
no  metaphysicians;  but  it  is  all  as  plain  as  a  pike- 
staff to  one  that  has  but  read  Suarez ;  for,  to  be 
yet  more  methodical,  there  is,  in  the  first  place, 
your  pur um  nihil,  or  arrant  nothing,  a  contradic- 
tion, and  absolute  impossibility  in  nature  ;  a  mon- 
ster, one  part  of  whom  unbuilds  another,  as  tran- 
substantiation,  a  Jacobite's  faith,  courage,  honour, 
honesty,  and  twenty  other  nothings  of  the  same 
stamp.  There  is  a  second  nothing,  which  is  be- 
tween a  nothing  and  a  something,  what  the  old 
jabberers  call  a  nihil  exist  entice  actualis,  nothing 
as  to  actual  real  existence,  but  what  may  exist ; 
as  a  million  of  things,  nothings  we  mean,  that 
are  possible,  are  not  future,  and  which,  we  hope  and 
have  a  strong  guess,  will  never  be  present.  But 
though  this  nothing  has  but  a  very  small  portion, 
of  something  in  it,  yet  some  it  seems  to  have,  at 


7^  THE  ATHENIAN'  ORACLE. 

least  to  conception  ;  and  there  is,  by  Avicenna's 
leave,  a  difference  between  the  nihility  of  a  possi- 
bility and  an  impossibility. 

There  is  further  a  nihil  positionis,  such  a  no- 
thing as  comes  nearer  to  something  than  all  the 
rest,  and  may  be  reckoned  just  on  the  edge  of 
being;  a  nothing  which  puts  or  affirms  nothing, 
but  either  takes  something  away,  as  privation, 
blindness  in  a  man,  &c.  or  only  outwardly  affects 
it,  as  any  extrinsical  denomination.   Some  reckon 
also  a  nothing  of  subsistence,  by  which  they  mean 
accidents,  of  modes  of  being;  but  we  think  these 
downright  somethings,  and  that  nothing  has  no- 
thing to  do,  to  pierce  so  far  into  the  realms  of 
entity.    After  all,  it  seems  to  us,  that  there  is 
still  lurking  one  old,  great,  generical  nothing, 
which  includes  all  these,  and  yet  may  be  consi- 
dered as  abstracted  from  them — a  sort  of  idea 
nothing,  a  being  of  reason  or  fancy,  which  we 
must  have  in  our  minds,  somehow  or  other,  when 
we  discourse  of  nothing ;  and  which  yet  cannot 
perhaps  strictly  and  properly  be  comprehended 
under  any  of  the  former  heads.    And  yet  less  than 
all  these  is  the  word  Nothing,  the  mere  shadow  of 
a  shadow,  for  all  its  high  pretensions  to  Latin, 
Greek,  and  Hebrew ;  and,  for  aught  we  know, 
fifty  languages  more  than  ever  in  the  Polyglott. 
This  sometimes  expresses  all  the  fore-mentioned 
particular  notions^  possible,  impossible,  privative, 
&c. ;  at  others,  only  the  general  confused  notion 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  77 

of  undeterminate  nothing ;  and  sometimes  again 
it  is  taken  for  its  own  little  self,  the  very  tiny 
word,  the  nihilum,  first  docked  into  nihil,  and 
then  split  into  9fil,  not  unlike  our  nothing  into 
nought,  and  so  made  less  than  nothing. 

But  how  can  Nothing  be  seen,  felt,  or  heard,  or 
understood  ?  Oh,  very  easily.  Did  you  never 
yet  see  a  countryman  gaping  up  in  the  sky  ?  Go 
to  him,  and  ask  him  what  he  sees  there;  and  per- 
haps his  answer  will  be, Nothing."  Nay,  select  if 
you  can  forty  wise  people,  and  desire  them  to  look 
up  as  well  as  he — they  will  all  agree,  they  see  "  No- 
thing." Tlien  for  feeling.  Nothing  may  be  a  noun; 
aye,  and  a  noun  substantive  too,  for  all  that;  for 
did  you  never  put  your  hand  in  your  pocket,  and 
feel  Nothing  there  ?  Then  for  hearing,  there  is  no 
manner  of  doubt  on  it ;  for  as  long  as  we  are  sure 
that  an  horrid  stillness  may  invade  the  ears  of  us 
mortals — it  is  a  clear  case,  that,  like  a  fat  old  gen- 
tleman who  steals  many  a  hearty  nap  at  church 
against  the  pillars  of  the  middle  aile,  it  is  possible 
for  a  man  to  have  his  mouth  open,  and  yet  hear 
Nothing.  Or,  if  he  should  chance  not  to  nod  fair, 
but  try  hard  heads  with  his  brother  snorer,  and 
wake  them  both  before  the  shrieking  clerk  did  it; 
yet,  if  the  parson  talk  sense,  they  might  understand 
nothing  of  it.  And  so  may  nothing  be  seen,  felt, 
heard,  and  understood.    Ergo,  it  is  a  noun. 


Qw6».y^.— What  is  your  opinion  of  the  nature  of 


78  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

plants ;  as  whether  they  are  capable  of  pain,  when 
cat  or  broken,  &c. ! 

Ans, — We  shall  first  consider  their  generation; 
they  have  now  for  some  thousand  years  lain  un- 
der the  same  scandal  that  insects  have,  viz,  that 
they  are  produced  by  equivocal  generation.  It 
would  be  too  tedious,  only  for  comparison's  sake, 
to  run  over  the  old  received  opinions,  that  salt 
holds  the  place  of  the  masculine  seed,  and  humi- 
dity the  feminine  ;  and  by  this  means  excrements 
produce  beetles,  flies,  worms,  or  other  insects; 
sweat  and  wine  produce  lice  and  fleas ;  the  slime 
of  marshes  generate  frogs,  being  very  nitrous ; 
boats  of  salt  produce  rats,  which  conceive  others 
by  licking  the  salt ;  bees  come  from  oxen,  hor- 
nets from  horses,  scorpions  from  crabfish,  the 
marrow  of  a  back-bone  turns  to  a  serpent,  with  a 
hundred  more  such  fabulous  idle  stories :  for,  by 
the  help  of  microscopes,  we  have  discovered  that 
all  animals  and  insects,  however  mean  and  despi- 
cable, are  produced  from  parents  of  their  own  spe- 
cies, even  to  a  gnat  and  a  mite.  Francisco  Redi, 
upon  the  innumerable  trials  that  he  made  with 
putrid  flesh  of  all  sorts,  corrupted  cheese,  fruits, 
herbs,  and  insects  themselves,  constantly  found 
that  all  these  kinds  of  putrefaction  only  afforded  a 
nest  and  aliment  for  the  young  of  those  insects 
that  he  admitted  to  come  to  them,  and  when  he 
sealed  them  up  in  glasses,  vessels  covered  with 
paper,  fine  lawn,  &c.  nothing  was  ever  produced 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  79 

even  in  the  warm  climate  of  Florence.  Malpi- 
ghius  also  has  observed  those  tumours  and  excres- 
cences of  plants,  leaves,  &c.  that  yield  flies  and 
worms,  are  first  made  by  such  insects  which 
wound  the  tender  buds  with  a  hollow  trunk, 
and  deposit  an  egg  in  the  hole  with  a  sharp  cor- 
rosive liquor,  which  causes  a  swelling  in  the  leaf, 
and  so  shuts  up  the  orifice.  We  need  not  add  the 
experiments  of  Lewenhoeck,  and  others,  since 
now  this  doctrine  of  equivocal  generation  is  uni- 
versally exploded. 

Nothing,  even  so  much  as  grass,  is  producible 
on  the  earth  without  seed. 

Malpighius  shews,  that  the  earth  which  has  no 
seed  in  itself  can  produce  nothing  at  all.  He 
caused  to  be  digged  a  deep  pit,  and  took  of  the 
earth  of  it,  which  he  put  into  a  glass,  that  he 
might  the  more  conveniently  see  whether  it  pro- 
duced grass,  or  anything  else ;  this  glass  he  co- 
vered with  fine  lawn,  several  heights  above  one 
another,  to  keep  the  smallest  seed  from  falling 
into  it,  as  also  that  it  might  have  the  convenience 
of  the  air;  and,  after  having  exposed  this  vessel  to 
the  air  for  a  long  time,  he  found  nothing  at  all  to 
grow  in  it ;  but,  having  put  some  seeds  into  it, 
they  sprang  up,  and  grew  immediately. 

If  it  be  objected,  that  in  London,  after  the 
plague,  grass  grew  in  the  streets,  being  not  hin- 
dered by  treading  upon  it,  and  that  all  highways 
spring  up  with  grass  when  unfrequented — it  is 


80 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


easily  answered,  that  seeds  of  grass  are  easily  car- 
ried by  the  wind  from  one  place  to  another  ;  but 
besides,  there  is  no  need  of  such  a  supply,  where 
the  roots  of  grass  are  left  behind,  which  will 
spring  up  when  at  liberty ;  but  in  places  where 
there  is  neither  root  nor  seed,  as  in  the  above  ex- 
periment, there  will  be  nothing  produced. 

Thus  the  generation  of  plants,  herbs,  &c.  is  as 
certainly  equivocal  as  that  of  brutes  and  men, 
viz.  produced  as  one  fire  kindles  another ;  and 
therefore  no  prerogative  can  be  claimed  by  one 
above  another  as  to  their  oreneration.  As  to  the 
nutrition,  increase,  &c.  of  vegetables,  I  come  to 
consider  them  ;  but  we  shall  also  examine  their 
organs,  and  what  relation  and  similitude  they  bear 
to  those  of  brutes,  and  consequently  to  ours.  Dr. 
Basil  is  very  positive,  in  his  Kingdom  of  Vegetables, 
that  there  is  nothing  in  animals,  but  there  is  some 
resemblance  of  it  in  plants,  and  for  the  most  part, 
they  have  the  same  organs  with  them.  With  him  also 
M.  Malpighius  agrees,  who  has  so  far  considered, 
and  curiously  examined  their  nature,  that  he  offers 
to  shew  in  plants  all  the  same  parts  which  serve 
to  the  divers  functions  of  life  in  men  and  beasts — 
such  as  are  for  reception  of  the  air,  for  the  use  of 
the  plant,  those  which  serve  to  the  concoction  and 
digestion  of  the  aliment,  the  circulation  of  nutri- 
tive succus,  the  excretion  of  superfinities,  &c.  Mr. 
Konig  gives  but  a  very  lame  definition  of  the  soul  of 
vegetables  ;  however,  he  agrees  with  me,  that  this 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  8l 

soul  is  the  principle  of  their  vegetation,  and  of 
nutrition,  increase,  propagation,  &c.  since  there 
are  no  laws  yet  known  of  matter,  that  can  cause 
such  circulations  and  motions  as  are  in  the  succous, 
nutritious,  and  other  plants.  He  has  very  well 
remarked,  that  they  have  not  only  the  same  or- 
gans destined  to  the  same  uses,  but  that  they  re- 
semble them  in  many  respects.  The  same  accidents 
and  the  same  revolutions  happen  to  them  in 
common  with  animals.  They  increase,  feed,  are 
vigorous,  sicken  and  die.  Nor  can  we  be  assured 
that  they  have  not  thought,  and  are  sensible  of 
pain  and  pleasure  in  the  proper  functions  of  their 
nature ;  but  we  have  rather  some  very  good  rea- 
sons to  believe  the  affirmative.  It  is  unquestion- 
able, that  not  only  in  different  species,  but  often 
in  the  very  same  kind,  there  is  a  vast  difference 
as  to  the  complexion  and  constitution  of  all  crea- 
tures ;  those  which  most  tenderly  and  delicately 
bred,  give  their  arteries  the  liberty  of  spreading 
into  extremely  fine  branches,  and  thereby  become 
extremely  sensible  of  pain  or  pleasure.  It  is  so 
in  the  vegetative  world ;  some  trees,  plants,  herbs, 
&c.  that  are  carefully  manured  and  managed,  are 
much  sooner  blasted,  than  the  wild  mountainous 
ones,  which  are  continually  exposed  to  the  se- 
verity of  wind  and  weather;  therefore,  if  we  can 
possibly  produce  such  instances  of  the  sensibility 
of  plants,  we  shall  bid  fair  to  prove  it  essential  to 
the  whole ;  only  by  accidents,  severe  usage,  dif- 

G 


^2  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

ference  of  contexture,  &c.  it  may  not  be  so  apparent 
in  all :  and  it  is  no  argument  that  a  thing  is  not, 
because  we  cannot  see  or  understand  it.  There  is 
a  sensitive  plant  growing,  as  Scaliger  and  others 
relate,  in  Zonolha,  a  part  of  Tartary,  where  the 
inhabitants  sow  a  sort  of  grain  much  like  that  of 
our  melons,  but  somewhat  longer,  from  which 
grows  an  herb,  which  they  call  Borrancetz,  or  a 
lamb,  for  it  is  like  one,  having  feet,  horns,  &c.  it 
grows  to  the  earth  by  a  root  which  enters  at  its  navel, 
and  it  eats  all  the  grass  about  it,  as  far  as  it  can 
reach,  and  dies  when  it  has  no  food.  Anthony 
Pegafet  tells  us  of  a  tree,  much  like  a  mulberry, 
which  has  leaves  with  little  feet,  that  it  uses,  when 
fallen  off"  the  tree,  to  run  away  from  those  that 
come  near  it.  But  Pliny  is  very  positive  as  to 
his  balsam  tree,  which  trembles  when  the  axe  is 
near  it.  And  Scaliger,  a  more  credible  author,  if 
the  two  last  be  suspected,  tells  us  of  the  Arbor 
pudica,  which,  upon  the  approach  of  a  man,  or 
other  animal,  contracts  its  boughs,  and  extends 
them  again  upon  their  departure,  which  is  also 
observable  in  the  sponge.  There  is  such  a  unifor- 
mity in  nature  between  some  plants  and  animals, 
that  there  is  scarcely  any  difference  but  in  local 
motion;  which  yet  is  found  in  some,  as  the 
gourd  and  cucumber,  which  follow  the  neigh- 
bouring water,  and  shape  their  fruit  in  length  to 
reach  it. 

The  Herba  Viva,  of  Arosta,  folds  up  its  leaves 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  83 

and  flowers  when  touched  ;  tulips  do  the  same  in 
the  evening ;  the  cadine  thistle,  called  the  pea- 
sant's-almanack,  folds  up  its  flowers  when  a  tem- 
pest is  at  hand  ;  and  innumerable  more  such  in- 
stances there  are,  which  would  persuade  us  that 
all  vegetatives  have  sense  as  well  as  life,  but 
rucro-edness  of  the  contexture  and  frame  of  most 
makes  it  imperceptible  to  us.  We  might  carry 
the  matter  yet  higher,  but  yet  with  a  question 
which  we  leave  to  the  ingenious,  whether,  since 
they  have  sense,  some  of  them  at  least  apparently, 
may  not  be  said  to  make  rational  inferences,  and 
be  guided  by  a  soul  capable  of  abstract  specu- 
lations ? 


Quest, — What  are  we  to  understand  by  the 
Centaurs  and  Lapithae,  and  were  there  ever  any 
such  monsters  as  Virgil  represents,  or  that  the 
story  proceeded  from  any  sort  of  men  ? 

j4ns, — Under  the  reign  of  Ixion,  king  of  Thes- 
saJy,  a  company  of  bulls  which  fed  upon  Pelion 
run  mad,  by  which  means  the  mountain  was  in- 
accessible. They  also  descended  into  the  inha- 
bited parts,  and  ruined  the  trees  and  fruits,  and 
killed  the  larger  cattle.  Upon  which  Ixion  de- 
clared that  he  would  give  a  great  reward  to  any 
persons  that  would  destroy  these  bulls.  Riding  on 
horseback  was  never  practised  before  that  time. 
But  some  young  men  that  lived  in  a  village  at  the 


84 


TMB  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


foot  of  Pelion,  had  attempted  successfully  to  train 
horses  fit  to  back,  and  had  accustomed  themselves 
to  that  exercise.    These  youths  undertook  to  clear 
the  mountain  of  the  bulls,  which  they  effected 
by  pursuing  them  on  horseback,  and  piercing 
them  with  their  arrows  as  they  fled ;  but  when 
the  bulls  stopped  or  followed  them,  they  retired 
without  receiving  any  hurt.    And  from  hence 
they  were  called  Centaurs,  viz,  Pierce-Bulls. 
Having  received  of  Ixion  the  recom pence  he  pro- 
mised them,  they  became  fierce  and  proud,  and 
committed  a  thousand  insolences  in  Thessaly,  not 
sparing  even  Ixion  himself,  who  dwelt  in  the 
town  of  Larissa.    The  inhabitants  of  the  country 
were  at  that  time  called  Lapithae,  who  one  day 
invited  the  Centaurs  to  a  feast  which  they  cele- 
brated; but  the  Centaurs  abused  their  civility; 
for,  having  drunk  too  much,  they  took  the  Lapi- 
thites*  women  from  them,  set  them  on  their  horses 
and  carried  them  away.    This  violence  kindled 
a  long  war  between  the  Centaurs  and  the  Lapi- 
thae ;  the  Centaurs  in  the  night  came  down  into 
the  plain,  and  laid  ambushes  for  their  enemies; 
and  as  soon  as  day  appeared  retired  again  into 
the  mountain  with  whatever  they  had  taken. 
Thus,  as  they  retired,  the  Lapithae  saw  only  the 
hinder  parts  of  their  horses,  and  the  men's  heads  ; 
so  that  they  seemed  but  as  one  animal,  from 
whence  they  believed  the  Centaurs  had  become 
half  men  and  half  horses,  and  that  they  were  sons 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHT. 


85 


of  clouds,  because  the  village  where  they  dwelt 
was  called  Nophelus,  which  signified  a  cloud. 

Quest.— How,  out  of  matter  which  appears 
plainly  homogeneous,  should  be  formed  animals 
which  consist  of  so  many  and  so  different  parts. 
Some  think  this  is  done  by  the  fermentation  of 
the  seed ;  but  it  seems  not  possible  that  infinite 
variety  of  parts,  so  aptly  disposed,  should  arise 
from  thence.  Others  assert  that  the  first  seed 
of  the  several  animals  created  by  God  did  for- 
merly include  all  seeds  in  itself :  but  this  also 
seems  very  difficult  to  conceive,  because  of  the 
infinite  number  of  animals  which  have  been 
formed  from  the  creation  of  the  world ;  though 
to  this  they  say,  that  the  parts  of  matter  are 
infinite.  Others  are  of  opinion  that  all  the 
seeds  of  the  several  animals  were  in  the  beginning 
of  the  world  created  by  God,  and  that  we  take 
them  in  daily.  Pray,  which  of  these  opinions 
esteem  most  probable  ? 

y4ns. — Whatever  matter  may  be  in  itself  and 
its  essence,  it  is  certain  that  it:  appears  to  our  senses 
as  various  and  heterogeneous  :  however,  the  mo- 
dus of  the  formation  of  animals  is  still  unknown. 
The  Inspired  Writers  express  themselves  here, 
at  least,  according  to  the  capacity  of  the  learned 
as  well  as  the  vulgar,  when  they  acknowledge 
the  ignorance  of  mankind — how  the  bones  do 


S6 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


at  first  grow  in  their  embryotic  state — and  that 
we  are  awfully  and  wonderfully  made,  when  we 
are  fashioned  secretly  in  the  lower  parts  of  the 
earth.  However,  it  seems  not  probable  that 
mere  fermentation  should  produce  this,  or  action 
or  re-action  of  one  part  of  matter  upon  another, 
though  we  grant  it  may  have  a  strange  and  unac- 
countable power  in  the  alteration  of  matter  purely 
insensible  or  inanimate.  This  fermentation  may 
dilate,  and  extremely  alter  the  parts  of  animate 
matter,  when  they  are  already  delineated  and 
marked  out  by  the  finger  of  the  Almighty ;  but 
still,  matter  being  a  principle  purely  passive  and 
irrational,  we  cannot  conceive  how  it  should 
become  an  animal,  any  more  than  a  world,  it 
being  much  more  easy  for  stones  to  leap  out  of  a 
quarry,  and  make  an  Escurial,  without  asking 
the  architect's  leave,  or  calling  for  the  mason,  with 
his  mortar  and  trowel,  to  assist  them.  Nor 
seems  it  necessary,  or  rational,  that  the  first  seed 
of  every  creature  should  formerly  include  all  those 
seeds  that  should  be  afterwards  produced  from  it; 
since  it  is,  we  think,  suflficient  that  it  should 
potentially  include  them,  as  Abraham  did  Levi, 
or  as  one  kernel  all  those  indeterminate  kernels 
that  may  be  thence  afterwards  raised,  the  first 
seeds  being  doubtless  of  the  same  nature  with 
those  that  now  exist,  after  so  many  thousand 
years,  the  order  of  time  making  only  an  accidental 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  8/ 

difference;  which  if  we  do  not  grant,  we  must 
run  into  this  absurdity,  that  every  thing  does  not 
produce  its  hke,  a  bird  a  bird,  or  a  horse  a  horse, 
which  would  be  to  till  all  the  world  witli  mon- 
sters, which  Nature  does  so  much  abhor.  But 
every  seed,  or  kernel,  for  example,  does  now 
actually  and  formally  contain  all  the  seeds  or 
kernels  which  may  be  at  any  time  afterwards 
produced  from  them.  A  kernel  has  indeed,  as 
we  have  found  b}^  microscopes,  a  pretty  fair  and 
distinct  delineation  of  the  tree  and  branches  into 
which  it  may  be  afterwards  formed,  by  the  fer- 
mentation of  its  parts  and  addition  of  suitable 
matter;  as  in  the  tree  are  potentially  contained 
all  the  thousands  and  millions  of  kernels,  and  so 
of  trees,  that  shall  or  may  be  thence  raised  after- 
wards :  and  so  we  are  apt  to  believe  it  must  be 
in  the  first  animals — whereas  the  finest  glasses, 
which  are  brought  to  an  almost  incredible  per- 
fection, cannot  discover  actual  seeds  in  seeds,  or 
kernels  in  kernels  ;  though,  if  there  were  any 
such  thing  as  an  actual  least  atom,  they  might, 
one  would  think,  be  discovered  by  them,  since 
they  have  shown  us  not  only  seeds,  but  even  new 
animals,  in  many  parts  of  matter  where  we 
never  suspected  them,  and  even  in  some  of  the 
smallest  animals  themselves,  whereof  our  naked 
sight  can  take  no  cognizance.  As  for  the  parts  of 
matter,  be  they  how  they  will,  finite  or  infinite, 
it  makes  no  great  alteration ;  for,  if  these  parts  are 


88 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


not  all  seminal,  we  are  no  nearer.  Nay,  at  best, 
an  absurdity  seems  to  be  the  consequence  of  this 
hypothesis :  because,  if  those  parts  are  infinite, 
and  include  all  successive  generations  of  animals, 
it  would  follow  that  the  number  of  animals  too 
should  be  infinite — nay,  the  number  of  any  in- 
sect, any  animal ;  and  instead  of  one,  we  should 
have  a  thousand  infinites ;  and  it  would  be 
strange  too  if  they  should  not,  some  of  them,  be 
greater  or  less  than  one  another. 

For  that  pleasant  fancy,  that  all  the  seeds  of 
animals  were  distinctly  created  at  the  beginning 
of  time  and  things,  that  they  are  mingled  with 
all  the  elements,  that  we  take  them  in  with  our 
food,  and  the  he  and  she  atoms  either  fly  off 
or  stay  as  they  like  their  lodgings  ;  we  hope 
there  is  no  need  of  being  serious  to  confute 
it.  And  we  may  ask  of  this,  as  well  as  the 
former  hypothesis,  what  need  of  them,  when  the 
work  may  be  done  without  them  ?  The  kernel, 
as  before,  contains  the  tree  ;  the  tree  a  thousand 
other  fruits,  and  ten  thousand  kernels :  the  first 
animal  several  others ;  and  as  many  of  them  as 
Nature  can  dispose  of,  and  provide  fit  nourishment 
for,  are  produced  into  what  we  may  call  actual 
being,  in  comparison  to  what  they  before  en- 
joyed. If  it  be  asked,  whether  these  imperfect 
creatures  have  all  distinct  souls  while  lurking  yet 
in  their  parent?  we  answer,  that  there  is  no  need 
of  it ;  they  are  not  yet  so  much  as  well  defined 


HISTORY  AND  FHILOSOPMY.  89 

bodies,  but  rather  parts  of  the  parent.  There 
is  required  yet  a  great  deal  more  of  the  chemistry 
and  mechanism  of  Nature,  and  that  in  both  sexes, 
to  make  one  or  more  of  these  insect  beings,  the 
offspring  of  man,  capable  of  receiving  a  rational 
soul ;  but  when  that  capacity  comes,  in  proper 
time,  to  infuse  it,  though  when  that  is,  and 
wherein  it  consists,  perhaps  He  only  knows,  who 
is  the  Father  of  spirits,  as  well  as  the  Former  of 
the  universe. 


Quest, — ^Why  is  the  first  of  August  called 
Lammas  Day,  above  all  days  of  the  year  ? 

u4ns, — At  that  time  the  popish  priests  began  to 
make  masses,  that  the  lambs  and  sheep  might 
not  die  all  that  season  by  the  cold  after  shearing : 
therefore  it  was  called  Lammas  Day. 

Quest, — Does  Sound  proceed  from  the  striking 
of  two  bodies  one  against  another,  or  from  the 
air  which  is  broken  thereon  ? 

Ans, — The  striking  of  two  hard  bodies,  one 
against  another,  is  indeed  the  efficient  cause  of 
sound,  but  not  the  formal;  for  sound  is  made, 
not  in  the  beating  of  those  two  bodies  alone,  but 
by  the  collision  and  breaking  of  the  air  between 
them.  As  for  example,  sound  is  not  in  the  bell 
that  sounds,  but  in  the  air  beaten  and  broken 
between  the  clapper  and  the  bell. 


go  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

Quest. — Why  cannot  we  endure  Thirst  so  long 
or  so  well  as  Hunger  ? 

j4ns. — Because  Hunger  is  but  a  simple  appe- 
tite of  food,  but  Thirst  is  a  double  appetite; 
namely,  of  food  and  refreshment ;  so  that  two 
defects  are  more  difficult  to  be  supported  than 
one.  And  therefore,  also,  we  receive  much 
more  pleasure  in  drinking  when  we  thirst,  than 
in  eating  when  we  hunger ;  and  as  the  pleasure 
is  greater  in  the  enjoyment,  so  is  the  displeasure 
and  inconvenience  in  the  want  thereof.  More- 
over^ drink  suddenly  penetrates  the  body  and  all 
the  parts  thereof ;  but  food  insinuates  by  little 
and  little,  and  after  many  concoctions  it  changes. 

Quest.  — Wherefore  do  such  as  are  made 
afraid  look  pale  and  wan  ? 

^ns. —  Because  Nature  withdraws  the  blood 
from  the  exterior  to  the  more  noble  and  inward 
parts  of  the  body;  even  as  such  who  have  lost 
the  power  and  command  of  the  field,  or  cam- 
paign, retreat  to  their  garrisons  and  castles,  the 
best  fenced  and  fortified  ;  for  it  is  the  blood  that 
causes  that  blushing  colour  in  the  face,  which, 
being  withdrawn,  paleness  ensues. 

Quest. — Why  do  flowers  flourish  and  open  in 
the  morning,  and  are  contracted  and  shut  at 
night  ? 

j4ns, — It  is  because  the  nature  of  heat  is  to 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  91 

dilate  and  open,  and  of  cold  to  contract  and  shut; 
so  that  the  sun,  by  its  heat,  makes  them  open 
and  flourish  ;  and  the  sun  being  set,  they  are 
contracted  and  shut  by  the  cold  of  the  following 
night. 

Quest.  Is  it  the  custom  of  remote  countries  to 
testify  their  sorrow  for  the  loss  of  friends  by  wear- 
ing of  different  apparel  ?  And  if  it  is,  do  they 
put  on  black,  or  any  other  colour?  And  what 
reason  can  be  given  for  our  preferring  black  to 
all  other  colours  ? 

j4m. — Black  is  the  most  fit  emblem  of  sorrow 
and  grief.  As  death  is  the  privation  of  life, 
and  black  a  privation  of  light,  it  is  very  probable 
this  colour  has  been  chosen  to  denote  sadness, 
upon  that  account.  When  black  appears  in  the 
body,  it  is  generally  a  sign  of  death,  because  it  is 
produced  by  mortification  and  extinction  of  the 
spirits;  a  living  body  being  full  of  vivacity  and 
brightness,  whereas  a  dead  one  is  gloomy  and 
dismal ;  for  at  the  same  moment  the  soul  leaves 
the  body,  a  dark  shade  seems,  as  it  were,  to  be 
drawn  over  it — so  that  this  colour  is  not  only  a 
proper  representation  of  grief  and  sadness,  but 
also  of  death,  which  is  the  cause  of  it,  and  has 
been  preferred  for  mourning  by  most  people 
throughout  Europe.  Yet  the  Syrians,  Cappa- 
docians,  and  Armenians,  use  sky-colour,  to  de- 
note the  place  they  wish  the  dead  to  be  in  j 


9«  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

namely,  in  tlie  heavens  ; — the  Egyptians  yellow, 
to  shew  that,  as  herbs  being  faded  become  yel- 
low, so  death  is  the  end  of  human  hope; — and 
the  Ethiopians  grey,  because  it  resembles  the 
colour  of  the  earth,  which  receives  the  dead. 


Quest. — Whether  the  antients  were  as  well 
skilled  in  shipping  and  navigation  as  the  moderns 
are  ? 

Ans. — Athenaeus  tells  us,  that  Ptolemy  Philo- 
pater  had  a  galley  built  for  pomp  and  pleasure, 
with  a  double  prow  and  forty  ranks  or  orders  of 
rowers.  And  Plutarch  asserts,  that  Demetrius 
equipped  several  ships  of  war,  which  had  in  each 
of  them  four  thousand  rowers :  this  for  their 
bulk.  Then  N.  Whitsen,  who  wrote  on  naval 
architecture  in  High  Dutch,  whose  book  was 
printed  at  Amsterdam  in  1671,  says,  the  ships  of 
the  antients  were  much  firmer  and  more  durable 
than  ours.  He  tells  us  of  a  ship  found  in  the 
time  of  Pope  Pius  H.  in  the  Numidian  sea, 
twelve  fathoms  under  water,  thirty  feet  long,  and 
proportionably  broad,  of  Cyprus  and  Larix  wood, 
so  hard  that  it  would  scarcely  burn  or  cut,  and 
not  in  the  least  any  where  rotten  or  perished ; 
and  the  whole  ship  so  close,  that  not  a  drop  of 
water  was  soaked  into  the  under  rooms.  But 
whatever  we  think  of  this  story,  or  of  the  vast 
bulk  assigned  to  some  ships ;  of  this  we  are  cer- 
tain, that  they  antiently  had  some  very  large 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHT.  9J 

vessels.  Authentic  histories  mention  Hiero  the 
Syracusan's  ship,  which,  by  the  description  Mr. 
Evelyn  gives  us  out  of  old  writers,  *'  that  it 
was  among  those  which  had  been  taken  from 
mountains,  or  floating  islands,  and  that  it  was  a 
moving  palace,  adorned  with  groves  of  trees,  both 
for  fruit  and  shade by  the  description  given  of 
it,  it  seems  to  be  the  same  which  the  miraculous 
Archimedes,  as  his  history  tells  us,  by  his  mathe- 
matical engines  lifted  up  in  the  air,  equal  and 
even,  as  a  trial  of  his  art,  when  Hiero  and  all  his 
courtiers  were  at  dinner  in  it.  Nor  were  they 
formerly  wanting  in  stratagems,  or  ingenious  de- 
vices, to  murder  one  another ;  for  Minus  is  said  to 
be  the  first  inventor  of  the  sea-fights,  who  lived 
not  long  after  the  Flood  ;  and  that  not  only  the 
use  of  flags,  but  even  of  false  colours,  fire-ships, 
stink-pots,  and  snake-pots,  were  known  to  the 
antients,  as  we  learn  in  Fronto  on  Stratagems. 
Then  for  the  number  of  their  vessels.  Homer  tells 
us,  there  were  a  thousand  ships  against  Troy ; 
and  the  Roman  histories,  and  Polybius,  inform 
us,  the  Roman  and  Carthaginian  Armadas  have 
met  at  sea,  with  more  than  a  hundred  thousand 
men  of  a  side ;  and  at  other  times,  forty  thousand 
have  been  killed  of  a  side  in  one  battle.  But, 
notwithstanding  all  this,  it  is  certain  that  we  excel 
the  antients,  not  only  in  other  parts  of  naviga- 
tion, but  also  in  that  of  shipping,  our  vessels  be- 


94  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

ing,  if  not  so  great  as  some  of  those  are  repre- 
sented, yet  much  more  serviceable. 

Quest. — To  whom  do  we  owe  the  invention  of 
Glass,  what  is  it  composed  of,  and  to  what  per- 
fection may  it  be  brought  ? 

Am.  —  Glass  is  found  in  all  bodies  capable  of 
calcination  and  vitrification  ;  but  chiefly  in  nitre, 
sand,  shells,  certain  stones,  wood,  and  plants ; 
from  which  it  is  drawn  differing  in  beauty  accord- 
ing to    the  matter  whence  it  is  extracted  by 
means  of  a  most  violent  fire,  which  resolving  the 
compound,  consumes  all  its  parts  except  that  vi- 
trious  matter,  which  is  proof  against  its  violence. 
We  owe  its  invention  to  certain  merchants  of 
nitre,  who,  having  landed  in  Phoenicia,  and  made 
a  fire  on  the  sand,  used  some  clods  of  their  nitre, 
as  a  trevet  for  their  kettle ;  and  the  heat  of  the  fire 
melting  the  sand  and  nitre  into  glass,  they  took 
notice  of  it,  and  published  the  invention.  After- 
wards moulds  were  found  out,  wherein  to  cast  it 
into  all  sorts  of  figures ;  pipes  or  tubes  to  ram  it 
in ;  others  to  blow  it,  and  give  it  all  sorts  of  co- 
lours, which  almost  miraculously  arise  from  the 
very  substance  of  the  glass,  without  other  mix- 
ture,  only  by  the  wind  and  blast  managed  accord- 
ing to  the  rules  of  art ;  as  also  mills  to  calcine 
and  pulverize  gravel,  stones,  or  sand. 

Glass  wants  but  one  thing;  and  that  is,  the  re- 
moving of  its  brittleness  or  fragility ;  were  it  not 


HISTORY  AND  FHILOSOPHr. 

for  that,  it  would  be  the  most  precious  thing  in 
the  world.  The  eye,  the  noblest  part  of  man, 
symbolizes  with  glass  by  that  crystalline  humour 
whereon  the  point  of  the  visual  ray  terminates. 
But  as  all  things  in  the  world  are  no  sooner  ar- 
rived to  their  point  of  perfection,  but  they  are 
most  subject  to  be  corrupted,  so  fragility  is  inse- 
parable from  glass,  arrived  to  that  degree.  As 
gold  is  the  masterpiece  of  Nature,  so  is  glass  of 
Art,  which  cannot  produce  any  thing  more  noble. 
It  is  the  fairest  and  cleanest  of  all  bodies,  as  par- 
taking the  most  of  light,  the  noblest  and  divinest 
of  all  sublunary  bodies,  to  which  alone  it  affords 
passage  through  its  imperceptible  pores,  being  by 
that  means  the  most  useful  and  delightful  piece  of 
architecture  ;  the  beauties  and  properties  whereof 
cannot  be  seen  but  by  light,  half  of  which  lattices 
intercept,  but  glass  communicates  intire;  serving, 
moreover,  to  correct  the  defects  of  sight  in  old 
men,  by  spectacles;  and  of  the  countenance  in 
looking-glasses,  by  means  of  which  man  perfectly 
knows  himself.  But  to  judge  how  glass  may  be 
malleable,  we  must  know  that  it  is  composed  of 
two  substances, — the  one  earthy,  the  other  gum- 
mous,  serving  for  cement  to  unite  those  dry  parts, 
whose  connexion  in  any  body  whatsoever  is  im- 
possible, but  by  acrious  humidity,  without  which 
the  earthy  parts  would  fall  to  dust.  Now  to  re- 
medy the  brittleness  of  glass,  it  were  expedient 
to  find  out  two  matters  whose  union  might  be 


Pff  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

closer,  or  to  link  them  together  better  by  some 
more  humid  oleaginous  matter  than  the  ordinary, 
which  would  no  more  hinder  the  transparencies 
of  glass  than  it  doth  that  of  talc,  which  is  wholly 
oleaginous  in  its  substance,  and  never  less  dia- 
phonous  and  flexible.  The  fire  likewise,  being 
very  sharp  and  violent,  consumes  almost  all  the 
moisture  of  glass,  and  makes  it  more  brittle,  for 
which  reason  it  ought  to  be  moderated. 

Quest,  —  Which  is  the  more  noble,  Man  or 
Woman  ? 

Am. — One  of  the  greatest  difficulties  arising 
in  the  discussion  of  this  controversy  is,  that  there 
is  no  judge  to  be  found  who  is  not  interested  in 
the  cause.  It  must  not,  therefore,  be  thought 
that  the  determination  of  this  point  is  of  little  im- 
portance :  for  we  should  have  none  of  those  dis- 
mal feuds,  both  in  high  and  mean  families,  did 
not  women  go  about  to  command  over  men  in- 
stead of  obeying  them.  Now  whether  the  busi- 
ness be  fairly  arbitrated,  or  whether  it  be  yielded 
out  of  complacency  to  that  sex  which  loves  to  be 
commended,  and  out  of  pity  to  its  weakness  ; 
upon  examination  of  the  reasons  of  either  side,  it 
is  safer  to  suspend  one's  judgment,  that  we  may 
neither  betray  our  own  sex,  nor  incense  the 
other,  —  which,  it  is  said,  is  not  so  easily  recon- 
ciled as  it  is  offended. 

Others  are  of  opinion,  that  the  courtship  and 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 

suing  which  men  make  to  women  is  a  tacit  but 
sufficient  argument  of  the  esteem  wherein  they 
hold  them  ;  for  we  do  not  seek  after  a  thing  we 
undervalue.  But  the  excellence  of  women  above 
men  is  chiefly  argued  from  the  place,  the  matter, 
and  the  order,  of  their  creation  ;  for  man  had  not 
the  advantage  to  be  created  in  the  terrestrial  para- 
dise, as  woman  had,  who  also  was  produced  out 
of  a  more  noble  matter  than  he — he  being  made 
out  of  the  dead  earth,  and  she  out  of  living  orga- 
nized matter.  As  for  the  order  of  the  creation  ;, 
God,  in  the  production  of  mixed  bodies,  began 
with  the  meanest  things,  and  ended  with  the 
noblest.  He  first  made  the  earth  and  the  sea, 
then  plants,  fishes,  and  the  other  brutes ;  after 
which,  he  created  man,  as  the  master-piece  of  all 
things ;  and  lastly  woman,  as  the  master-piece  of 
Nature,  and  the  model  of  all  perfections,  mistress 
of  man,  sttonger  than  he,  as  the  Scripture  saith, 
and,  consequently,  mistress  of  all  the  creatures. 
Moreover,  there  is  no  sort  of  good  v^hich  is  not 
found  in  a  higher  degree  in  woman  than  in  man. 
As  for  the  goods  of  the  body,  the  chief  of  which 
is  beauty,  men  have  therein  utterly  lost  the  cause ; 
which  they  will  be  as  little  able  to  carry  in  refer- 
ence to  the  goods  of  the  mind,  the  same  being 
found  more  vigorous,  and  attaining  sooner  to  ma- 
turity in  women.  They  commonly  perform  more 
actions  of  virtue  than  men  ;  and  indeed  they  have 
more  need  of  them,  to  withstand  the  assaults  made 

H 


58 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


Upon  their  chastity,  which  is  not  so  often  found 
in  the  other  sex.  They  are  acknowledged  by  aH 
to  be  more  merciful,  faithful,  and  charitable  than 
men  ;  so  devout,  that  the  Church  terms  them  by 
no  other  name ;  and  so  patient,  that  God  ha? 
judged  them  alone  worthy  to  carry  their  unborn 
children  nine  months;  no  doubt,  because  men 
had  not  virtue  and  resolution  enough  for  that 
office.  In  short,  there  is  no  science  or  art  in 
v'hich  women  have  not  excelled  ;  witness  the  two 
virgins  De  Roches  and  De  Gournai,  the  Vis- 
countess of  Auchi,  and  Juniana  IVJorel,  a  sister 
Jacobin  of  Avignon,  who  understood  fourteen 
languages,  and  at  Lyons  maintained  Theses  in 
philosophy  at  the  age  of  thirteen.  So  also  of  old, 
Diotima  and  Aspasia  were  so  excellent  in  philoso- 
phy, that  Socrates  was  not  ashamed  to  go  to  their 
public  lectures.  Hipalia,  of  Alexandria,  the  wife 
of  Isidore  the  philosopher;  in  oratory,  Tullia, 
the  daughter,  and  doubly  heiress  of  Cicero  ;  and 
Cornelia,  who  taught  eloquence  to  the  Gracchi, 
her  sons  ;  in  poetry,  Sappho,  the  inventress  of 
Sapphic  verses  ;  and  the  three  Corynnas,  of  whom 
the  first  overcame  Pindar,  the  prince  of  Lyric 
poets,  five  times;  and  in  painting,  Irene  and  Ca- 
lypso, in  the  days  of  Varro.  If  there  have  been 
prophets,  there  have  also  been  prophetesses  and  si- 
byls; yea,  they  were  virgins  of  old,  that  rendered 
the  oracles  at  Delphos.  In  brief,  if  there  have  been 
warlike  men,  there  have  been  Amazons  too^  who 


» 

HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  99 

have  shewn  that  valour  is  not  solely  to  be  found 
in  men.  And  there  have  been  maidens  v;ho 
have  fought  very  courageously,  whose  sex  was 
not  known  till  they  were  slain  in  battle.  But 
these  feminine  virtues  are  not  so  much  celebrated 
as  those  of  men,  by  reason  of  the  envy  which  they 
bear  to  the  sex,  having  subjected  the  same  to  such 
a  pass  that  they  are  enforced  to  support  all  our 
defects.  Though,  indeed,  women  may  say 
to  men,  as  a  lion  did  to  a  man  who  shewed  him 
the  picture  of  a  man  killing  a  lion — "  if  lions,"  said 
he,  "  were  addicted  to  painting,  he  would  see  more 
men  killed  by  lions  than  lions  by  men  — if  wo- 
men had  had  the  making  of  laws  and  histories, 
you  would  see  more  virtues  exercised  by  women 
than  by  men.  But,  though  it  will  be  said  that 
only  men  give  their  opinion  of  this  matter,  yet 
God  himself  has  passed  a  decree  upon  them  in 
these  w^ords,  "  The  woman  shall  be  subject  to  the 
man."  And  it  is  to  no  purpose  to  say,  that  it  was 
otherwise  before  the  first  sin,  and  that  subjection 
was  imposed  on  the  woman  for  a  punishment ; 
seeing  the  punishment  of  the  serpent,  that  he 
should  creep  upon  the  earth,  does  not  presuppose 
that  he  caused  man  to  sin  by  the  means  of  his 
wife  ;  but  indeed  God  converted  that  into  a  pe- 
nalty which  before  was  natural  to  him.  The 
same  ought  to  be  said  concerning  the  woman,  who 
\vas  no  less  subject  to  the  man  before  than  after 
liissin.    Moreover,  after  God  had  taken  the  wo- 

H  S 


ICO 


THE  AlilEMAN  ORACLE. 


Twan  out  of  Adam's  side,  whence,  they  say,  it  liap- 
pens  that  their  heads  are  so  hard,  he  did  not  say 
?he  was  good,  as  he  had  pronounced  all  the  rest 
of  his  creatures.  And  to  get  Adam  to  marry  her, 
there  was  no  other  expedient  found  but  to  cast 
him  into  a  sleep;  no  doubt  because,  had  he  been 
awake,  he  wouUl  have  been  much  puzzled  to  re- 
solve upon  it.  So  that  they  who,  considering  on 
one  side  the  usefulness  of  that  sex  for  the  preser- 
vation of  the  species  of  men,  and  on  the  other 
Ihe  mischiefs  wliereof  it  is  the  cause,  have  not  ill 
determined,  when  they  termed  woman  a  necessary 
evil;  to  which  men  are  addicted,  by  natural  in- 
stinct, for  the  general  good,  and  to  the  prejudice 
cf  the  particular,  just  as  water  ascends  upwards, 
contrary  to  its  own  nature,  for  the  eschewing  of 
vacuity.  Woman  is  an  imperfect  animal,  whom 
Plato  questioned  whether  he  should  not  rank 
among  the  irrational,  and  whom  Aristotle  terms 
a  monster."  They  who  treat  her  most  gently  style 
her  a  simple  error  of  Nature.  Now,  if  \n  some 
species  of  animals  the  females  have  the  advantage 
above  males,  as  tigresses,  lionesses,  and  she- 
wolves,  it  is  in  fierceness;  and  therein  we  also 
yield  to  women.  But  what  more  competent  judge 
amongst  men  can  they  fi^d  than  Solomon,  who 
tri^d  so  many,  and  enquires,  who  can  find  a 
wise  woman  ?"  and  who,  after  he  had  compared 
them  to  the  bottomless  pit,  concludes,  that  all 
wickedness  is  supportable,  provided  it  be  not  the 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPm^ 


101 


wickedness  of  a  woman;  yea,  that  the  wickedness 
of  a  man  is  better  than  the  goodness  of  a  woman. 

Lastly,  the  middle  opinion  is,  that  every  thing 
is  esteemed  according  to  its  author,  structure, 
and  composition,  the  means  it  makes  use  of,  the 
manner  how  it  emplo3^s  the  same,  and  its  end. 
Now,  man  and  woman  having  the  same  author, 
Ciod,  and  being  composed  ahuost  of  the  same 
parts,  it  remains  to  inquire  v^hat  means  both  the 
one  and  the  other  make  use  of  for  attaining  their 
end,  which  is  happiness.  It  is  certain  that  the  being 
cither  man  or  woman  makes  neitherof  them  goodor 
bad,  handsome  or  deformed,  nobie  or  infamous, 
happy  or  unhappy.  There  are  found  of  both 
sorts  in  each  sex  :  -  -  as,  to  begin  in  Paradise,  the 
eleven  thousand  virgins  alone  shew  that  the  femi- 
nine sex  has  as  good  a  share  therein  as  men.  In 
thrones,  Semiramis,  Thomiris,  many  queens  and 
empresses,  have  manifested  that  women  as  well 
know  how  to  command  as  men  ;  Judith,  cutting 
off  the  head  of  Holofernes ;  and  the  maid  of  Or- 
leans, having  shown  that  men  alone  were  not  co- 
rageous,  and  fit  for  martial  achievements.  In 
brief,  there  is  no  kind  of  performances  in  which 
examples  are  not  to  be  found  both  of  men  and 
women  who  have  acquitted  themselves  well 
therein.  In  cpconomy,  or  the  management  of  a 
family,  if  some  men  are  masters,  there  are  found 
women  too,  who,  having  the  supremacy,  perform 
so  well  that  the  men  cannot  complain.  Where- 


THE  ATHEMAN  ORACLE. 


fore  they  who  seek  the  cause  of  the  nobleness  or 
abjectness  of  man  and  woman  in  the  sex,  seeki  t 
where  it  is  not.  It  is  not  the  being  a  man,  or  a 
woman,  that  makes  noble  or  ignoble  ;  —  it  is  the 
being  an  excellent  man,  or  an  excellent  woman: 
for,  as  they  are  mistaken  who  impute  some  vice 
or  virtue  to  a  whole  province,  because  to  be  vi- 
cious or  virtuous  are  personal  things  ;  the  same 
ought  to  be  said  concerning  man  or  woman,  who 
are  citizens  of  the  whole  world  ; — either  of  whom 
taken  in  general  has  nothing  in  them  but  what  is 
very  decorous,  good,  and  perfect,  and,  conse- 
quently, very  noble,  as  proceeding  from  an  Author 
who  communicated  to  them  what  perfection  and 
nobleness  were  respectively  requisite.  If  there  be 
any  defect,  it  proceeds  from  the  individual  per- 
son, and  ought  no  more  to  be  attributed  to  tlie 
sex  than  to  the  species. 

Quest.  —  Whether  Truth  is  always  to  he 
spoken  ? 

y^ns. — Truth  being  a  moral  duty,  it  much  im- 
ports the  interest  of  a  government  that  it  be  ob- 
served and  kept  inviolably,  not  only  in  contracts 
and  public  actions,  but  also  in  private  discourses. 
And  it  is  our  judgment  that  truth  always  should 
be  spoken,  although  it  be  to  one's  damage. 

But  some  say,  truth  is  not  always  to  be  spoken. 
This  Nature  teaches  us,  while  she  discovers^to  us 
pnly  the  surface  of  the  earth,  but  has  hid  alj  the 


MISTOHY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  103 

treasures  of  it,  as  all  the  parts  of  man,  especially 
tlie  more  noble,  are  concealed  under  the  skin. 
That  which  vilifies  mysteries  is  the  publishing  of 
them,  called  profanation  ;  that  which  hinders  the 
effect  of  state  counsels,  whereof  secrecy  is  the 
soul,  is  the  letting  of  them  be  discovered,  which 
is  treason ;  that  which  takes  away  the  credit  from 
all  arts  and  professions  is  the  rendering  them  com- 
mon ;  and  phj^sic,  amongst  others,  knows  the  ad- 
vantage of  concealment,  wdiile  the  welfare  of  the 
patient  many  times  depends  upon  his  ignorance. 
Would  you  see  what  difFerencR-  there  is  between  a 
wise  man  and  a  fool,  a  civil  man  and  a  clown : 
it  does  not  consist  in  knowledge,  for  they  often 
have  the  same  thoughts  and  inclinations  ;  but  the 
fool  speaks  all  that  he  thinks,  the  wise  man  does 
not;  as  the  clown  will  declare  by  gesture,  and,  if 
he  can,  do  every  thing  that  comes  into  his  ftmcy ; 
but  the  better-bred  man  uses  restraint  upon  him- 
self. The  comedian,  therefore,  wanted  not  reason 
to  say,  that  truth  begets  hatred  ;  and  the  Scrip- 
ture teaches  us  that  the  dissimulation  of  the  wise 
Egyptian  women  to  Pharaoh,  when  they  were 
commanded  to  murder  the  Hebrew  children  at 
the  birth,  was  approved.  There  is  great  differ- 
ence between  speaking  falsehood,  and  not  speak- 
ing always  the  truth  which  is  expected  from  us  ; 
the  former  being  vicious,  the  other  not.  WhencJe 
Athanasius  being  asked  by  his  pursuers  whether 
he  had  seen  Athanasius,  told  them  "  he  went  that 


104 


THE  ATHEMAN  ORACLE. 


way  a  little  time  since  but  did  not  tell  them  that 
himself  was  the  person.  And  St.  Francis  being 
asked  if  he  saw  a  robber  pass  by,  shewed  his 
sleeve,  and  said,  "  that  he  did  not  pass  that  way.'* 
As  only  weak  and  distempered  eyes  are  unable 
to  bear  the  light  of  the  sun,  so  only  weak  and 
sickly  minds  cannot  suffer  the  lustre  of  truth. 
All  men  are  obliged  to  speak  it,  but  particularly 
that  which  is  dictated  from  God's  mouth  ;  and  we 
ought  rather  to  choose  martyrdom  than  renounce 
the  belief  of  it.  Less  ought  they  to  conceal  it  who 
are  bound  to  it  by  their  condition  as  preachers 
and  witnesses,  provided  they  have  regard  to  place, 
time,  and  persons,  without  which  circumstances 
it  is  unacceptable  and  absurd.  Yet  in  two  cases 
particularly  the  not  telling  of  truth  may  be  dis- 
pensed with  :  When  the  safety  of  the  Prince, 
or  good  of  the  State,  is  concerned,  for  which 
Plato,  in  his  Commonw^ealth,  says,  it  is  lawful  to 
lie  sometimes;  and  the  Angel  Raphael  told  Tobias 
"that  it  is  good  to  hide  the  secrets  of  Kings."  And 
when  our  life  is  concerned,  or  that  of  our  father, 
mother,  and  kindred,  against  whom,  although  we 
know  them  guilty  of  a  crime,  we  are  not  obliged 
to  declare  it ;  provided  nevertheless  that  it  be 
with  the  respect  due  to  the  magistrate,  and  that 
we  beware  of  speaking  lies  whilst  we  intend  only 
to  decline  discovery  of  the  truth.  It  is  the  opi- 
nion of  the  Civilians  that  a  father  cannot  be  con- 
gtraiued  to  bear  witness  against  his  son,  nor  a  son 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


against  his  father,  except  in  the  case  of  high 
treason. 

These  three  things  must  not  he  confounded — to 
lie,  to  speak  or  tell  a  he,  and  to  do  or  act  one. 
To  he,  is  to  go  against  our  own  meaning;  as  when 
I  know  a  thing,  and  not  only  conceal  it,  but 
speak  the  contrary.  This  action,  according  to 
some,  is  always  evil,  as  it  is  never  lawful  to  do 
evil  that  good  may  come  of  it.  According  to 
others,  it  is  qualified  according  to  the  diversity  of 
its  end:  for  he  wiio  tells  a  he  to  save  a  traveller''^ 
life,  who  is  pursued  by  thieves,  seems  to  do  bet- 
ter than  if  he  exposed  himself  to  their  cruelty  by 
his  discovery.  The  physician  who  dissembles  to 
bis  patient  the  danger  of  his  disease,  and  thinks 
itenough  to  acquaint  his  domestics,  does  better  than 
if  he  cast  him  into  despair  by  a  dismal  prognosti- 
cation ;  and  when  he  cheers  him  up  in  suitable 
time  and  place  by  some  pleasant  made  story, 
what  he  speaks  can  scarcely  be  reckoned  amongst 
tdle  words.  But  he  who  lies  for  his  profit,  as 
many  tradesmen  do,  sins  proportionably  to  the 
deceit  which  he  thereby  causes ;  but  he  is  most 
culpable  who  lies  to  the  magistrates.  One  mav 
tell  or  speak  a  lie  without  lying ;  namely,  when 
one  speaks  a  false  thing  conceiving  it  to  be  true. 
To  do  or  speak  a  lie,  is  to  lead  a  life  contrary  to 
one's  profession;  as  he  who  preaches  well  and 
lives  ill.    Whence  we  conclude,  tlmt  liiany  pre^ 


106* 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE, 


cautions  are  requisite  to  lie  without  committing 
an  offence ;  that  a  lie  is  to  be  spoken  as  little  as 
possible,  and  never  to  be  done  or  acted  at  all. 

Quest. — Which  is  better,  to  go  to  bed  late, 
and  rise  betimes  in  the  morning  ;  or  to  do  the  con- 
trary ? 

Ans. — All  the  great  and  most  refined  spirits, 
and  even  most  men  who  have  more  than  an  ordi- 
nary burthen  of  affairs,  generally  go  to  bed  late, 
and  rise  late,  whereof  several  reasons  may  be  as- 
signed ;  as  the  affairs  themselves,  which  insen- 
sibly steal  away  the  time  from  us;  the  time  slid- 
ing away  faster  from  him  who  takes  a  pleasure  in 
the  doing  of  a  thing,  than  it  does  from  another 
who  is  in  some  trouble  of  mind  or  body;  whence 
a  tedious  tale  and  a  bad  book  are  always  thought 
too  long.  They  therefore  are  to  be  thought  the 
happiest,  who,  if  they  had  their  own  wills,  would 
o-o  to  bed  latest ;  not  only  for  that  reason  whibh 
made  a  certain  king  say,  that  he  would  be  king  as 
long  as  he  could ;  inasmuch  as,  when  he  slept, 
there  was  no  difference  between  him  and  the 
meanest  of  his  subjects;  but  also  for  this,  that 
night  surprizing  them  before  they  had  done  all 
their  business,  the  supper  must  be  the  later,  and 
consequently  the  going  to  bed.  The  second  rea- 
son is,  that  there  ought  to  be  a  correspondence 
between  the  tranquillity  of  the  mind  and  the  body; 


HlSrORV  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  10* 

it  fcweing  necessary  that  he  who  would  take  a  good 
sleep  should  not  he  subject  to  any  disturbance  of 
mind  ;  and  that,  rest  being  procured  only  by  that 
order  which  every  one  has  taken  in  his  affairs,  it 
is  to  be  imagined  that  the  later  a  man  goes  to 
bed  the  more  business  he  has  di.^patched,  and 
eonsequenily  there  remains  less  to  be  done.  Upor. 
this  ground  it  is,  that  the  suppers  of  men  of  busi- 
rsss  are  accounted  the  most  quiet;  for,  having 
spent  the  whole  day  in  trade,  they  then  enjoy 
greater  serenity.    In  the  third  j)lace,  a  man  should 
not  go  to  bed  till  digestion  be  pretty  well  ad- 
vanced ;  from  the  want  or  slowness  w^iereof,  hi- 
deous dreams,    crudities,   and  apoplexies,  pro- 
ceed.   Now  this  digestion  is  so  much  the  more 
advanced,  the  later  a  man  goes  to  bed.  Fourthly, 
that  custom  is  the  best,  from  which  it  is  in  a 
.fDan's  power  most  easily  to  wean  himself,  and  in 
the  change  whereof  he  w  ill  be  subject  to  the  least 
inconvenience.     Now  he  who  has  contracted  a 
habit  of  going  to  bed  late,  will  imd  it  a  less  incon- 
venience to  go  to  bed  betimes,  that  so  he  may  rise 
betimes,  or  upon  some  other  motive,  than  he 
shall  to  sit  up  late  who  has  accustomed  himself  to 
go  to  bed  betimes  ;  for  he  will  be  sleepy  and  unfit 
for  doing  anything  as  soon  as  his  bed-time  i3  come. 
Fifthly,  Hippocrates  would  not  have  a  man  en- 
slave himself  to  an  over-strict  course  of  lifV,  a« 
such  reguIar_persons  find  it  the  greater  difficulty 


108  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE, 

to  support  the  miscarriages  which  oftentimes 
cannot  be  avoided  in  the  ordinary  course  of  life. 
Now  those  who  go  to  bed  betimes  are  com- 
monly more  regular  in  the  hours  of  supper,  and 
all  the  other  actions  of  the  day ;  upon  the  exact 
observance  whereof  that  of  their  bedtime  depends. 
Now  it  is  obvious  to  any,  who  consider  the  differ- 
ence of  professions,  that  there  are  but  few  that 
leave  a  man  liberty  to  observe  so  exact  a  rule  as 
this ;  so  that  being  sometimes  necessitated  to 
make  a  breach  of  the  rule  of  going  to  bed  betimes, 
they  must  receive  a  far  greater  inconvenience  from 
the  neglect  of  it,  than  they  ordinarily  do  who  go 
to  bed  late.  Sixthl}^,  the  same  reason  obliges 
phlegmatic  persons,  and  such  as  are  subject  to 
catarrhs,  to  content  themselves  with  little  sleep, 
for  their  humidity,  joined  with  that  of  sleep  ; 
augments  their  diseases;  besides  that  sleeping, 
which  moistens  and  cools,  is  not  so  well  pro- 
cured in  that  part  of  the  day  which  is  most  cool 
and  moist,  that  is,  from  nine  at  night  till  three  in 
the  morning,  but  rather  towards  the  morning,  at 
which  time  the  blood  begins  to  abate  its  heat,  and 
dilates  itself  till  ten  in  the  morning,  as  all  will 
acknowledge  who  are  subject  to  the  megrims, 
who  find  very  great  ease  by  morning-sleep,  which 
accordingly  is  found  to  be  the  most  delightful. 
P^Ioreover  those  who  rise  too  early  in  the  morning 
are  subject  to  head-ache  in  the  afternoon,  and 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  10.9 

more  easily  moved  with  anger  all  the  rest  of  the 
day;  to  effect  which,  the  consideration  of  the 
ternperainent  does  very  much  conduce.  The 
greater  part  of  men  being  subject  to  choler,  and 
the  coolness  and  moisture  of  the  night  correcting 
that  hot  and  dry  distemper,  it  is  the  more  conve- 
nient that  sleep  should  be  in  the  day-time. 

But  it  is  argued  by  some^  that  the  restoration 
of  the  spirits  obliges  the  animal  to  sleep,  which 
ought  to  continue  at  least  for  such  a  space  of  time 
as  amounts  to  the  third  part  of  that  which  a  man 
has  been  awake,  and  should  never  exceed  the  one 
half  of  it.  But  the  time  when  we  should  begin  or 
end  our  sleep  being  left  to  our  own  discretion,  it 
is  requisite  we  should  accommodate  ourselves  to 
the  order  of  nature,  which  has  appointed  the  day 
to  labour,  and  the  night  to  rest  in.  Nay,  it  is 
also  the  advice  of  Hippocrates,  Galen,  and  othet' 
physicians,  who  think  it  not  enough  to  direct  rest 
in  the  night,  and  waking  in  the  day,  but  alsc 
conceive  very  great  hopes  of  those  who  in  sick- 
ness are  regular  therein.  Add  to  this,  that  dark- 
ness, silence,  and  the  coolness  of  the  night,  are  fit 
to  recruit  the  spirits,  and  promote  their  retiremeRl 
within ;  whereas  light,  noise,  and  heat  of  the  day^ 
are  more  proper  to  occasion  their  egress  for  the 
exercise  of  actions;  which  granted,  he  who  ob- 
serves not  this  rule,  charges  nature  with  an  erro  - 
neous proceeding.  And  that  this  is  her  way  >s 
plaioj  since  those  animals  which  are  guided  onK 


110 


THE   ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


by  her  motion  thus  act.    Birds  go  to  their  rest, 
and  awake  with  the  sun  ;  if  any  of  our  domestic 
creatures  do  otherwise,  our  irregularity  is  the 
cause;  and  that  jjerversion  is  of  no  less  dangerous 
consequence  than  that  of  the  seasons,  wnich  is 
ever  attended  by  diseases.    And  who  makes  any 
doubt  but  that  the  greatest  perfection  of  the  hea- 
vens consists  in  their  regular  motion,  the  princi- 
pal cause  of  their  duration,  which  order  we  should 
come  as  near  to  as  we  can  in  our  actions  ;  among 
which  sleeping  and  waking,  being  the  hinges  on 
which  all  the  others  of  our  life  depend — if  there 
be  any  irregularity  in  these,  confusion  and  dh^ 
order  must  needs  be  expected  in  all  the  rest; 
may  be  seen  in  the  lives  of  courtiers  of  both  sexes^ 
who  turn  night  into  day,  and  day  into  night,  a 
rourse  of  life  much  different  from  that  which  i^^ 
observed  by  the  members  of  regulated  conipanies. 
Besides,  it  is  the  morning  that  not  only  holds  a 
stricter  correspondence  with  the  Muses,  but  ii 
also  the  fittest  time  for  the  performance  of  all  the 
functions  of  bodv  and  mind.    Then  is  it  that 
physicians  prescribe  exercise,  in  regard  that  the 
body  being  cleared  of  the  excrements  of  the  first 
and  second  concoelioOj  is  wholly  disposed  for  the 
distribution  of  aliment,  and  evacuation  of  the  ex~ 
cremerits  of  the  third  ;   so  that  he  who  passes 
that  part  of  the  day  about  his  affairs,  besides  the 
expedition  he  acquires,  does  by  that  means  main- 
XMn  the  e;xr^-y  cf  h's  body  and  mind,  which  is 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


Ill 


commonly  dulled  by  sleeping  in  the  day-time; 
which  fills  the  head  with  vapours,  and  when 
exercise  comes  to  succeed  it  in  the  warmest  part 
of  the  day,  the  heat,  which  is  then  commonly 
greatest,  makes  it  less  supportable.  Therefore  Na- 
ture, which  is  a  sure  guide,  inclines  us  to  sleep  in 
the  evening  ;  there  being  nothing  but  the  multi- 
plicity and  distraction  of  evil  affairs,  which  de- 
priving us  of  that  function,  as  it  does  of  divers 
others,  makes  the  life  of  man  so  much  the  less 
certain,  the  more  he  is  involved  in  affairs;  where- 
as the  duration  of  that  of  animals,  and  next  to 
them  of  country  people,  and  such  as  comply  with 
the  conduct  of  Nature,  is  commonly  of  a  greater 
length,  and  more  certain. 

Quest. — What  is  Friendship? 

yfns. — Friendship  is  a  powerful  and  strict  union, 
which  unites  the  lover  and  the  loved,  like  that 
bond  which  in  nature  unites  the  matter  and  the 
form,  the  accidents  and  the  substance.  The 
eause  of  it  is  goodness,  which,  being  propor- 
tionate to  the  body,  produces  a  natural  amity ; 
to  the  passions,  an  animal  amity  ;  to  the  under- 
standing a  rational  one;  to  the  laws  a  political  or 
civil ;  to  religion  a  divine  one.  This  goodness, 
consisting  in  a  proportion  and  symmetry,  is  not 
different  from  beauty ;  and  therefore  we  appre-  ^ 
hend  beauty  in  good  things,  and  goodness  and 
convenience  in  such  as  are  handsome  and  graceful. 


THE    ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


Resides  goodness,  which  is  the  cause  of  friend- 
ship, and  towards  which  our  will  is  as  necessarily 
carried  as  the  intellect  is  towards  truth,  and  all 
the  senses  towards  their  proper  objects,  resetn- 
blance  and  friendship  itself  are  the  causes  of  friend- 
ship. The  first  is  founded  upon  the  love  we  bear 
to  ourselves:  for  as  we  love  ourselves  above  any- 
thing else  in  this  world,  so  we  love  those  who  re- 
resemble  us,  and  symbolize  with  our  humours  and 
inclinations.  Hence  it  is  that  one  of  the  most 
common  courses  to  please  is,  to  conform  our- 
selves to  those  by  whom  we  desire  to  be  affected ; 
then  friendship,  the  second  means  of  acquiring 
love,  is  no  less  effectual,  it  being  almost  impos- 
sible not  to  love  them  who  love  us. . 

Friendship  must  be  distinguished  from  love  ; 
for  love  is  a  passion  arising  from  the  imagination 
of  a  sensible  good,  and  is  found  even  in  brute 
beasts ;  but  friendship  is  one  of  the  most  excel- 
lent virtues,  or  rather  the  fruit  of  acconiplished 
dod  perfect  virtue.  Virtue  has  place  only  among 
excellent  persons,  uniting  them  together  in  the 
exercises  of  virtue.  Being  once  established,  it  is 
very  durable.  Therefore  Seneca  pronounces  that 
the  friendship  which  knows  an  end  was  never 
true.  Some  friendships  there  are  whose  founda- 
tion is  profit  and  pleasure,  but  they  are  always 
imperfect.  Whence  it  is  that  old  men  and  young 
are  ordinarily  accounted  incapable  of  true  frierid- 
ship ;  the  former,  because  they  scarcely  regard 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  ll^ 

any  thing  besides  profit ;  and  the  latter,  because 
their  minds  are  more  set  upon  what  is  pleasant 
and  agreeable,  than  upon  what  is  honest  and  vir- 
tuous. Nor  is  it  ever  found  amongst  wicked  per- 
sons. For  a  perfect  friend  must  love  another  as 
much  as  himself.  And  although  the  affection  we 
bear  to  ourselves  be  not  true  friendship,  because 
it  must  always  have  reference  to  another,  yet  it  is 
the  most  certain,  yea  the  measure  of  perfect  friend- 
ship ;  and  God  has  appointed  it  as  the  rule  of  our 
love  to  our  neighbour.  Now,  how^  can  he  be  a  per- 
fect friend  who  does  not  love  himself?  how  can  he 
agree  with  another  who  accords  not  with  himself? 
for  a  vicious  man  is  his  own  chief  enemy,  while 
he  pursues  the  false  and  imaginary  good  instead  of 
the  true — vicfe  instead  of  virtue  ;  and  many  times 
he  becomes  his  own  murderer  by  intemperance 
and  other  vices.  He  has  always  a  civil  war  with- 
in himself;  his  reason  is  never  at  peace  with  his 
appetite;  what  one  desires,  the  other  rejects. 
Consequently,  he  has  never  any  inward  joy  ;  but 
he  is  greatly  displeased  with  being  alone,  and  for 
that  reason  always  seeks  the  company  of  those 
like  himself,  to  divert  his  sad  thoughts. 

There  is  nothing  comparable  to  friendship^ 
which  is  the  salt  and  seasoning  of  human  life, 
the  preserver  of  societies,  and  the  most  agreeable 
and  sweetest  consolation  that  persons  of  virtue 
and  honour  can  have ;  by  help  of  which  a  man 
finds  another  self,  to  whom  he  may  intrust  his 


114 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


most  secret  thoughts.  It  is  therefore  one  of  the 
greatest  blessings  to  have  a  friend,  whom  you  may 
make  partaker  of  your  feHcity,  which  is  so  much 
the  greater,  when  it  is  communicated  to  others 
without  being  diminished  to  yourself;  and  in  case 
adversity  befall  you,  the  same  is  sweetened  by  the 
relation  you  make  thereof  to  him  who  shares  this 
burden  with  you,  and  so  renders  it  more  support- 
able. True  it  is,  that  although  a  friend  be  ne- 
cessary in  either  fortune,  yet  he  is  more  advan- 
tage to  us  in  adversity  ;  in  which  a  friend  supplies 
his  friend  with  liealth  and  counsel,  and  is  thereby 
distinguished  from  a  false  one,  who  loves  only 
for  the  sake  of  his  own  pleasure  and  profit.  Now 
whatever  is  excellent  has  most  of  unity.  And  as  a 
river  divided  into  several  streams  is  more  weak, 
so  friendship  shared  among  many  is  always  lan- 
guid and  impotent.  Besides,  a  friend  should  be 
complacent  to  his  friend  in  everything,  and  they 
ought  to  be  but  one  soul  living  in  two  bodies. 
Now  it  is  as  hard  to  please  many,  as  it  is  impos- 
sible to  please  all  the  world.  And  should  two 
friends  at  the  same  time  implore  the  succour  of  a 
third,  he  could  not  betake  himself  to  both  toge- 
ther, nor  consequently  satisfy  the  duty  of  friend- 
ship. 

Friendshi})  is  either  natural,  spiritual,  or  moral. 
The  natural  is  between  father  and  children,  bre- 
thren and  sisters,  husband  and  wife,  and  between 
kindred  ov  alliance.    The  spiritual  is  between 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  115 

those  who  profess  the  same  law  and  religion.  The 
moral  is  between  such  as  are  united  together  on 
the  account  of  virtue.  It  consists  only  in  the 
union  of  wills,  not  of  understandings  ;  for  I  may 
have  an  opinion  different  from  that  of  my  friend, 
without  prejudicing  our  friendship,  but  not  a  dif- 
ferent will.  And  as  honesty  does  not  take  away 
piety,  nor  piety  honesty  ;  so  spiritual  and  moral 
friendship  do  not  destroy  one  another.  For  I 
may  love  one  morally  whom  I  do  not  love  spiri- 
tually ;  that  is,  I  may  unite  with  him  in  the  exer- 
cises of  honesty  or  virtue,  though  1  differ  in  those 
of  piety. 

Quest, — Why  do  all  men  naturally  desire 
knowledge  ? 

Ans, — Several  answers  may  be  given  though 
the  reason  may  appear  different.  Aristotle  rightly 
observes,  that  the  first  question  ought  to  be  whe- 
ther the  thing  be,  or  exist;  because  it  is  in  vain  to 
seek  the  causes  of  that  which  has  no  being.  It  is 
therefore  first  to  be  inquired,  whether  it  be  true 
that  all  men  have  a  natural  desire  of  knowledge, 
and  then  the  causes  thereof  must  be  sought.  That 
which  is  natural  must  be  found  in  all ;  so  we 
say  it  is  natural  to  a  stone  to  tend  downwards,  be- 
cause all  of  them  do  so.  But  it  is  so  far  from 
being  true  that  all  men  are  desirous  to  know  and 
learn,  that,  for  rectifying  the  defect  of  such  de- 
sire, we  see  teachers  sometimes  trrmed  with  the 

I  2 


\16 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


rod,  sometimes  forced  to  use  allurements  and 
rewards,  and  employ  all  imaginable  artifices,  to 
excite  a  desire  of  learning  in  such  as  want  it,  the 
number  of  whom  is  always  greater  than  of  others* 
Hence  it  is  that  in  a  school  of  five  hundred  pupils 
you  shall  scarcely  find  fifty  that  have  well  profited 
in  learning;  and  amongst  a  hundred  masters  of 
trade,  scarcely  ten  good  workmen.  Moreover, 
there  are  some  men  who  have  not  much  less  of 
the  beast  than  of  the  man.    And  as  the  greatest 
clerks  are  not  always  the  wisest  men,  so  neither 
are  they  the  most  happy.    The  best  and  most 
knowing  philosopiiers  are  not  the  men  that  do 
their  business  best.    It  will  be  said,  that  to  un- 
derstand the  means  of  advancing  one's  self  is  a  sort 
of  knowledge;  and  they  who  have  not  a  genius  for 
learning,  have  one  for  other  things,  and  profit 
therein  as  well  as  in  the  sciences.    But  I  answer, 
that  philosophy  being  the  key  of  all  other  disci- 
pline, it  is  a  sign  they  will  not  open  the  chest, 
when  they  refuse  the  key  of  it. 

All  naturally  desire  to  know,  but  not  all  things, 
nor  at  all  times,  nor  by  all  the  ways  prescribed 
them ;  every  one  would  learn  after  his  own  mode 
and  things  proportionable  to  his  reach  ;  and  as 
when  these  conditions  meet  together,  they  excite 
the  desire  ;  so  when  any  one  is  wanting,  they 
cause  disgust.  Thus  one  is  passionately  affected 
to  Algebra,  which  deters  the  wit  of  another.  One 
matter  may  please  at  the  beginning,  and  become 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOFHV.  llj 

distasteful  in  the  continuance;  and  the  same  sub- 
ject being  created  in  familiar  discourse  will  render 
you  attentive,  yet  displease  you  in  a  more  lofty 
style,  which  on  the  other  side  would  content 
some  other.  It  is  not  therefore  to  he  wondered, 
if  some  minds  have  reluctancy  against  the  con- 
straint offered  to  be  laid  upon  them.  Supposing 
this  desire  of  knowledge  not  general,  it  is  de- 
manded how  it  comes  to  be  so  great  in  many  per- 
sons, that  some  have  relinquished  all  their  for- 
tune for  it,  others  have  spent  their  whole  age  in 
attaining  it,  others  have  put  out  their  eyes  the 
better  to  attend  it,  and  some  lost  their  lives  for  it. 
Surely  they  all  do  thus  for  some  good.  Now 
good  is  divided  into  three  kinds  ;  and,  correspond- 
ently,  some  do  it  for  profit,  fitting  themselves  to 
gain  themselves  a  livelihood;  others  for  honour, 
and  to  gain  the  prerogatives  which  know- 
ledge procures  to  the  most  learned  ;  others,  only 
for  the  pleasure  they  find  in  study,  and  not  for 
the  sake  of  knowledge  itself ;  for  when  we  once 
have  attained  the  knowledge  of  a  thing,  it  aflfords 
us  delight  no  longer ;  whence  it  is  that  excellent 
workmen  are  always  poor,  because  so  soon  as  they 
have  arrived  to  a  perfection  of  skill,  they  leave  all 
further  search  to  others ;  their  only  pleasure  was 
in  the  acquisition  ;  this  pleasure  herein  resem- 
bling all  other  sorts,  which  consist  only  in  action, 
and  not  in  acquiescence  or  satisfaction.    But  may 


118 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


it  not  also  be  thus,  because  our  soul  being  a  num- 
ber, always  desires  and  aims  to  perfect  itself? 
And  as  no  number  can  be  assigned  so  great,  but 
some  other  may  be  added  to  it,  even  to  infinity ; 
so  our  soul  is  capable  of  receiving  new  light  and 
new  notions,  to  infinity.  Or  else,  as  every  thing 
tends  to  its  natural  place ;  so  our  soul,  being  of 
celestial  origin,  aspires  to  the  infinite  knowledge 
of  God  by  that  of  finite  things. 

The  reason  why  both  young  and  old  desire  to 
know,  is,  because  of  the  extreme  pleasure  which 
they  take  in  knowing  things.  But  if  some  be  not 
inclined  to  it,  it  is  in  regard  of  the  difficulties, 
which  abate  indeed,  but  cannot  wholly  extinguish 
their  natural  ardour.  This  pleasure  is  apparent, 
in  that  we  take  delight  to  know  not  only  true 
things,  but  such  as  we  are  conscious  to  be  noto- 
riously false :  yea  sometimes  we  are  more  de- 
lighted  with  the  latter  than  the  former,  provided 
they  have  some  pretty  conceits,  as  with  stories, 
fables  and  romances.  For  there  is  nothing  so  small 
and  inconsiderable  in  nature,  wherein  the  mind 
finds  not  incomparable  delight.  "  The  gods,''  saith 
Aristotle,  are  as  vyell  in  the  least  insects,  as  in 
the  most  bulky  animals and  to  despise  little 
things  is,  in  his  judgment,  to  do  like  children. 
For,  on  the  contrary,  as  in  art,  the  less  place  a 
picture  takes  up,  the  more  it  is  esteemed ;  and 
the  Iliads  of  Homer  were  sometimes  the  more  ad- 


HISTOKY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  1  19 

mired  for  being  comprised  in  a  nutshell.  So  in 
nature,  the  less  volume  things  are  in,  the  more 
worthy  they  are  of  admiration.  Now  if  there  be 
so  much  pleasure  in  seeing  the  figures  and  repre- 
sentations of  natural  things,  because  sve  observe 
the  workman's  industry  in  them  ;  there  is  much 
more  contentment  in  clearly  beholding  those 
things  themselves,  and  remarking  in  their  essence 
properties  and  virtues,  the  power  and  wisdom  of 
nature  far  transcending  that  of  art.  But  if  the 
knowledge  of  natural  things  afibrds  us  so  great 
dehght,  thatof  supernatural  things  delights  us  in  a 
higher  measure  ;  and  it  is  also  much  more  diffi- 
cult, because  they  are  remote  from  our  senses, 
which  are  the  ordinary  conveyances  of  know- 
ledge. Wherefore,  there  being  pleasure  in  know- 
ing both  great  things  and  small,  natural  and  su- 
pernatural :  it  is  no  wonder  if  man,  who  usually 
follows  delectable  good,  takes  delight  in  knowing. 

We  love  the  sense  of  seeing  above  all  the  rest, 
because  it  supplies  us  with  more  knowledge  than 
the  rest;  because  man,  being  mindful  of  the  place 
of  his  origin,  desires  to  raise  himself  above  plants 
and  other  animals :  by  sense  he  advances  himself 
above  plants ;  by  memory  above  certain  animals 
who  have  none;  by  experience  above  them  all; 
but  by  the  use  of  reason,  from  which  proceeds 
science,  men  excel  one  another.  And,  as  Seneca 
saith,  men  are  all  equal  in  their  beginning  and 
their  end,  that  is,  as  to  life  and  death,  not  differ- 


120 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


ing  but  in  their  interval,  whereof  science  is  the 
fairest  ornament.  The  cause  of  this  desire  of 
knowing  proceeds  then  from  the  natural  inclina- 
tion every  thing  has  to  follow  its  own  good.  Now 
the  good  of  man,  as  man,  is  to  know.  For  as  a 
thing  exists  not  but  so  far  as  it  acts,  therefore  the 
reasonable  soul,  being  the  most  noble  and  perfect 
of  all  forms,  desires  to  employ  itself  incessantly 
in  its  action,  which  is  the  knowledge  of  things. 
Indeed  every  thing  strives  after  its  own  operation. 
As  soon  as  the  plant  is  issued  out  of  the  earth,  it 
thrusts  forward  till  it  comes  to  its  just  bigness. 
The  eye  cannot  without  pain  be  hindered  from 
seeing  ;  silence  causes  sadness. 

The  intellect  becomes  every  thing  which  it  un- 
derstands. Hence  man,  the  most  inconsistent  of 
all  things,  is  carried  so  ardently  to  the  knowledge 
of  all  things;  which  finding  not  worthy  of  him, 
he  relinquishes,  till  he  be  arrived  at  the  know^- 
ledge  of  his  Creator  ;  to  whom  conforming  him- 
self, he  desires  to  know  nothing  more,  but  ac- 
quiesces, contemplating  in  him,  as  in  a  mirror, 
all  other  things  of  the  world. 

We  have  the  seeds  and  treasures  of  knowledge 
hidden  in  ourselves  ;  which,  longing  to  be  exerted 
and  reduced  from  power  into  act,  incessantly  soli- 
cit us  to  put  them  forth.  Hence  comes  the  desire 
of  knowing,  or  rather  awakening  those  species 
which  are  perfected  in  us  by  use,  and  in  time 
whollv  displayed.    Teachers  do  not  infuse  know- 


r 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY. 


131 


ledge  into  the  children  whom  they  instruct,  but 
only  assist  them  to  produce  it  out  of  folds  and  re- 
cesses of  the  mind,  in  which  otherwise  it  would 
remain  unprofitable,  and  like  matter  without 
form.  As  the  steel  does  not  give  fire  to  the  flint, 
but  elicits  the  same  of  it,  so  those  natural  lights 
and  notices  being  at  first  enveloped  with  clouds, 
when  their  veil  is  taken  away,  and  they  are 
loosened  from  the  contagion  of  the  senses,  they 
extremely  delight  those  who  bore  them  inclosed 
in  their  breast,  and  needed  help  to  exclude  them. 

Quest, — Is  there  such  a  thing  in  nature  as  a 
Vacuum  ;  and  what  are  the  opinions  of  the  learned 
about  it  ? 

Ans, — The  vulgar  call  that  empty  which  is  not 
filled  with  some  visible  body.  But  the  philoso- 
phers give  this  name  to  a  place  destitute  of  all 
corporeity  whatsoever,  yet  capable  of  being  filled  ; 
at  least,  if  any  such  can  be  in  nature  ;  for  it  can- 
not be  understood  of  those  imaginary  spaces  be- 
yond the  heavens,  which,  Pythagoras  said,  served 
for  their  respiration,  whereof  he  conceived  they 
stood  in  need,  as  animals  do.  Democritus  and 
Leucippus  admitted  a  twofold  vacuum  :  one  in 
the  air,  serving  for  local  motion  ;  the  other  in  all 
mixed  bodies  requisite  to  the  internal  growth,  and 
also  to  the  lightness  of  things ;  alleging  that  ac- 
cording as  their  atoms  are  closely  or  loosely  con- 
nected, and  of  various  figures,  so  bodies  are  light 


« 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


or  heavy.  Bat  these  opinions  being  antiquated, 
some  adhere  to  the  common  one,  which  admits 
no  vacuum  at  all. 

Others  say,  that  since  nature  abhors  a  vacuum, 
there  must  be  such  a  thing;  for  of  two  contraries, 
one  supposes  the  other.  And  indeed  it  is  impos- 
sible for  any  local  motion,  condensation  or  rare- 
faction, and  inward  augmentation,  to  be  made 
without  admitting  vacuity :  for,  as  for  local  mo- 
tion, when  a  body  removes  out  of  place,  that 
into  which  it  enters  is  either  full  or  empty ;  not 
full,  for  then  it  could  not  receive  a  new  body 
without  penetration  of  dimensions,  which  nature 
cannot  suffer,  therefore  it  must  be  empty.  For 
this  reason,  Melissus  affirmed  that  all  things  are 
immoveable  ;  for  being  unable  to  comprehend 
how  motion  could  be  made  without,  and  unwil- 
ling to  admit  vacuity,  therefore  he  denied  both. 
To  say  that  bodies  give  way  one  to  another,  is 
to  increase  the  difficulty  instead  of  resolving  it ; 
for  the  body  which  gives  place  to  another  must 
displace  a  third,  and  this  a  fourth,  and  so  to 
infinity.  Moreover,  a  vacuum  is  proved  by  con- 
densation and  rarefaction ;  for  the  former  being 
made  when  a  body  is  reduced  into  a  lesser  ex- 
tent, and  its  parts  approach  nearer  one  another 
without  loss  of  any,  either  these  parts  penetrate 
one  another,  or  else  there  was  some  void  space, 
which  is  possessed  by  themselves  when  they  are 
pressed  together,  seeing,  if  they  had  been  so  con- 


HISTORY  AND  t*HILOSOPHY.  1 

tiguous  as  that  there  were  not  any  empty  pores 
between  them,  they  would  not  have  come  closer 
together.  Likewise  rarefaction^  being  caused  when 
the  parts  recede  one  from  another,  if  no  other 
body  interpose,  there  must  needs  be  a  vacuum 
between  the  parts,  or  else  they  must  have  been 
one  within  another.  If  it  be  said,  that  propor- 
tionably  as  one  thing  is  condensed  in  one  place, 
another  is  as  much  rarefied  somewhere  else,  to 
fill  up  the  vacuum,  and  so  on  the  contrary  ;  this 
is  harder  to  be  conceived  than  a  vacuum.  Lastly, 
accretion,  or  growth,  which  is  caused  by  the 
reception  of  aliment  in  the  body,  could  not  be 
made,  if  there  were  not  some  void  passages  to 
receive  this  aliment.  And,  to  conclude,  expe- 
rience shews  us,  that  a  pail  of  water  will  receive 
its  own  measure  of  ashes  or  lime,  which  it  could 
not  do  if  there  were  no  vacuity. 

A  third  opinion  is,  that  every  thing  affects 
unity,  not  only  because  God,  who  is  the  universal 
cause  of  all,  is  one,  and  most  simple,  and  every 
thing  ought  to  be  like  its  cause ;  but  that  all 
things  find  their  good  in  unity,  as  they  do  their 
ruin  in  disunion.  Wherefore  every  thing  in  the 
world  is  so  united,  that  there  is  not  any  empty 
space  between  two  ;  and  contiguity  is  as  neces- 
sary in  the  parts  of  the  world,  as  contiguity  in 
those  of  a  living  creature:  for  if  there  were  a 
vacuum  in  the  world,  the  heavens  would  not 
transmit  their  influences  into  the  elements  and 


124  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

their  compounds,  for  the  preservation  of  which 
the  same  are  absolutely  necessary ;  considering 
that,  whatever  acts  upon  a  distant  thing,  must 
do  it  by  some  medium  uniting  the  agent  and  the 
patient. 

But  it  is  said,  that  since  nature  offers  violence 
to  herself,  to  prevent  inanity,  and  all  things  quit 
their  particular  interest  for  that  of  the  publick, 
undoubtedly  there  is  no  such  thing  as  a  vacuum 
in  nature  ;  for  we  see  that  she  makes  heavy  things 
to  ascend,  light  things  to  descend,  and  breaks 
the  solidest  and  strongest  things  without  any 
external  violence,  only  to  avoid  the  inconvenience 
of  vacuity.  If  bellows  be  compressed,  and  the 
holes  stopped,  no  human  force  can  expand  them 
without  breaking :  a  bottle,  of  what  material 
soever,  filled  with  boiling  water  and  stopped,  and 
put  into  cold,  immediately  flies  into  pieces.  You 
cannot  draw  wine  out  of  a  vessel,  unless  you 
give  entrance  to  the  air  by  some  hole.  A  vessel 
being  full  of  heated  air,  and  its  orifice  applied  to 
the  water,  sucks  the  same  upwards  ;  a  cupping- 
glass,  when  the  heated  and  subtile  air  in  it  be- 
comes condensed  and  takes  up  less  room,  attracts 
the  flesh  into  itself.  Syphons  and  pumps,  by 
which  the  water  is  made  to  ascend  higher  than 
its  source,  are  founded  wholly  upon  this  avoiding 
of  vacuity.  Our  own  bodies  also  afford  an  in- 
stance ;  for  the  aliment  could  not  be  assimilated 
in  each  part,  without  the  suction  and  attraction 


HISTORY  AND  3*111  LOSOPHY*  125 

which  is  made  of  it,  to  supply  the  wants  of  what 
is  consumed  by  exercise  ^or  heat ;  otherwise  the 
blood  and  nourishment  would  tend  only  down- 
wards by  their  own  weight.  And  what  makes 
the  effect  of  blood-letting  and  evacuation  so  sen- 
sible, but  this  very  flight  of  vacuum  ? 

A  notable  vacuity,  and  of  great  extent,  cannot 
be  without  a  miracle ;  but  some  small  inter- 
spersed vacuities  may  be  between  the  particles  of 
the  elements  and  compounds,  like  the  pores  of 
our  bodies :  for  Nature  abhors  the  former,  and 
can  do  nothing  without  the  latter  ;  it  being  im- 
possible for  qualities  to  be  transmitted  to  any 
subject  through  a  great  vacuum,  which  would 
hinder  the  perception  of  our  senses,  and  the  fire 
itself  from  heating  at  the  least  distance.  There 
could  be  no  breathing  in  it ;  birds  could  not 
fly  in  it:  in  brief,  no  action  could  be  exercised 
in  it  but  those  whereof  the  principle  is  in  the 
thing  itself,  and  which  needs  no  medium,  as  local 
motion,  which  w-ould  be  more  easily  made,  be- 
cause there  could  be  no  resistance. 

Nature  does  what  she  can  to  hinder  a  vacuum, 
yet  suffers  one  when  she  is  forced  to  it ;  for  if 
you  suck  all  the  air  out  of  a  bottle,  then  stop  it 
exactly,  and  having  put  it  under  water,  with  the 
mouth  downwards,  open  it  again,  the  water  will 
immediately  ascend,  to  fill  the  vacuity  left  by  the 
exsuction  of  the  air.  And  if  with  a  syringe  you 
force  air  into  a  vessel  strong  enough  to  endure 


126 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


such  violence,  when  the  pores  of  the  air,  which 
were  empty  before,  come  to  be  filled,  it  will,  of 
its  own  accord,  drive  out  the  water  very  impe- 
tuously, which  was  first  put  into  it.  Likewise, 
though  the  air  naturally  keeps  above  the  water, 
yet,  by  enclosing  it  in  some  sort  of  vessel,  you 
may  violently  make  it  continue  under  the  water. 

Quest. — Pray  oblige  me  with  the  several  opi- 
nions you  have  met  with  concerning  the  capri- 
cious or  extravagant  humours  of  women  ? 

Ans, — It  should  not  be  thought  that  all  wo- 
men are  capricious  ;  but  only  the  reason  inquired 
of  those  that  are  so,  and  why  are  they  more  than 
man  ?  To  allege  the  difference  of  souls,  and 
suppose  that  as  there  is  an  order  in  the  celestial 
hierarchies,  whereby  the  Archangels  are  placed 
above  Angels,  so  the  spirits  of  men  are  more  per- 
fect than  those  of  women,  were  to  fetch  a  reason 
too  far  off,  and  prove  one  obscure  thing  by  ano- 
ther more  so.  Nor  is  the  cause  to  be  found  in 
their  bodies,  taken  in  particular ;  for  then  the 
handsome  would  be  free  from  this  vice,  the  ac- 
tions which  borrow  grace  from  their  subject  ap- 
pearing to  us  of  the  same  nature,  and  conse- 
quently their  virtues  would  seem  more  perfect, 
and  iheir  defects  more  excusable;  whereas,  for 
the  most  part,  the  fairest  are  the  most  culpable. 
We  must  therefore  recur  to  the  correspondence 
and  proportion  of  the  body  and  the  soul ;  for 


HISTORY  AKD  PHILOSOPHY.  127 

sometimes  a  soul  lights  upon  a  body  so  well 
framed,  and  organs  so  commodious  for  the  exer- 
cise of  its  faculties,  that  there  seems  more  of  a 
superurbem  than  of  a  man  in  its  actions,  whence 
some  persons  of  either  sex  attract  the  admiration 
of  the  world.  On  the  contrary,  other  souls  are  so 
ill  lodged,  that  their  actions  have  less  of  man 
than  of  brute;  and  because  there  are  more  women 
than  men  found,  whose  spirits  are  ill  quartered 
and  faculties  depraved,  hence  comes  their  capri- 
cious and  peevish  humour.  The  manner  of  living 
to  which  the  laws  and  customs  subject  women, 
contribute  much  to  their  defects  ;  for,  leading 
a  sedentary  life,  wherein  they  have  also  the  same 
objects  before  their  eyes,  and  their  minds  not 
being  diverted  by  civil  actions,  as  those  of  men 
are,  they  make  a  thousand  reflections  upon  their 
present  condition,  comparing  it  with  those  whereof 
they  account  themselves  worthy.  This  puts 
their  modesty  to  the  rack,  and  oftentimes  carries 
them  beyond  the  respect  and  bounds  which  they 
proposed  to  themselves  ;  especially  if  a  woman  of 
good  wit  sees  herself  married  by  a  weak  husband, 
and  is  ambitious  of  shewing  herself.  Another, 
judging  herself  to  merit  more  than  her  rival,  not 
knowing  to  whom  to  complain  of  her  unhappi- 
ness,  does  every  thing  in  spite. 

The  word  capricious  is  used  to  signify  the 
extravagant  humour  of  most  women,  because  there 
is  no  animal  they  resemble  more  than  a  goat, 


128 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


whose  motions  are  so  irregular :  for  such  as 
have  searched  into  the  nature  of  this  animal  find 
that  its  blood  is  so  sharp,  and  spirits  so  ardent, 
that  it  is  always  in  a  fever  ;  and  hence  it  is,  that 
being  agitated  with  this  heat,  which  is  natural  to 
it,  it  leaps  as  soon  as  it  comes  into  the  world. 
Now  the  cause  of  this  temper  is  the  conformation 
of  the  brain,  which  they  say  is  like  that  of  a 
woman ;  the  ventricles  of  which  being  very  small, 
are  easily  filled  with  sharp  and  biting  vapours, 
which  cannot  evaporate,  as  Aristotle  affirms,  be- 
cause their  sutures  are  closer  than  those  of  men. 
Those  vapours  prick  the  nerves  and  membranes, 
and  so  cause  those  extraordinary  and  capricious 
motions.  Hence  it  is  that  women  are  more  sub- 
ject to  the  megrims,  and  other  diseases  in  the 
head,  than  men.  And  as  those  that  sell  a  goat 
never  warrant  it  sound,  as  they  do  other  animals, 
there  is  no  less  excuse  in  reference  to  women : 
which  caused  the  Emperor  Aureliusto  say,  that 
his  father-in-law  Antoninus,  who  had  done  so 
much  to  others,  had  done  him  mischief  enough 
in  giving  him  his  daughter,  because  he  found  so 
much  bone  to  pick  in  a  little  flesh."  Moreover, 
the  Naturalists  say  that  the  goat  is  an  enemy  to 
the  olive-tree,  which  is  a  symbol  of  peace,  where- 
unto  women  are  not  over  well-afiected :  forj 
not  to  mention  the  first  divorce  which  woman 
caused  between  God  and  man,  by  her  liquorish- 
ness,  her  talking,  her  ambition,  her  luxury,  he 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  1S9 

obstinacy,  and  other  vices,  are  the  most  common 
causes  of  all  the  quarrels  which  arise  in  famiHes 
and  in  civil  life.  If  you  would  have  a  troop  of 
goats  pass  over  any  difficult  place,  you  need  force 
but  one  to  doit,  and  all  the  rest  will  follow: 
so  women  are  naturally  envious,  and  no  sooner 
see  a  new  fashion  but  they  must  follow  it.  And 
gardeners  compare  women  and  girls  to  a  flock  of 
goats,  who  roam  and  browse  incessantly,  holding 
nothing  inaccessible  to  their  curiosity.  There  is\ 
but  one  considerable  difference  between  them  : 
the  goat  wears  horns,  and  the  women  makes/ 
others  wear  them. 

A  third  opinion  is,  that  there  is  more  resem- 
blance between  a  woman  and  a  mule,  than  be- 
tween a  woman  and  a  goat.  For  the  mule  is  the 
most  testy  and  capricious  of  all  beasts,  fearing  a 
shadow  more  than  a  spur ;  so*  a  woman  fears 
every  thing  but  what  she  ought  to  fear.  The 
obstinacy  of  the  mule,  which  is  so  great  that  it 
has  grown  into  a  proverb,  is  inseparable  from 
the  whole  sex,  most  of  them  being  gifted  with  a 
spirit  of  contradiction.  Mules  delight  to  go  in 
companies  ;  so  do  women.  The  bells  and  muz- 
zles of  the  one  have  some  correspondence  with 
the  ear-rings  and  veils  of  the  others;  and  both 
love  priority.  The  more  quiet  you  allow  a  mule, 
it  becomes  the  more  restive  ;  so  women  become 
more  vicious  in  idleness.  Neither  of  them  wil- 
lingly admits  the  bridle  between  their  teeth. 


130  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

Lastly,  the  mule  that  has  seemed  most  tractable 
all  its  time,  one  day  of  other  pays  his  master 
with  a  kick  ;  and  the  woman  that  has  seemed 
most  discreet,  at  one  time  or  other  commits  some 
notorious  folly. 

Those  who  invented  the  little  medals  repre- 
senting the  upper  part  of  a  woman  and  the  lower 
of  a  mule,  commend  this  sex  while  they  think  to 
blame  it ;  for  there  is  nothing  more  healthy, 
strong,  patient  of  hunger  and  the  injuries  of 
seasons,  or  that  bears  more,  or  is  more  service- 
able, than  a  mule.  Now,  if  certain  actions  of 
women  seem  full  of  perverseness  and  caprice  to 
some,  possibly  others  will  account  them  to  pro- 
ceed from  vivacity  of  spirit  and  greatness  of 
courage  ;  and  as  the  Poet,  in  great  commendation 
of  his  black  mistress,  chanted  her  cheeks  of  jet 
and  bosom  of  ebony,  so,  whatever  some  people's 
mistake  may  say  to  the  contrary,  the  most  capri- 
cious woman  is  the  most  becoming.  Nor  is  this 
humour  unprofitable  to  them  ;  for  as  people  are 
not  forward  to  provoke  a  mule,  for  fear  of  kicks, 
so  we  are  more  shy  of  women  than  otherwise  we 
should  be,  for  fear  of  caprices ;  yet  some  hold 
that  this  capriciousness  of  women  follows  the 
moon  ;  others,  that  the  flower  of  beans  contri- 
butes very  much  to  it. 

If  credit  is  to  be  given  to  experience,  Solomon, 
who  had  a  thousand  women,  compares  an  ill 
capricious  woman  to  a  tigress  and  a  lioness. 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  I3I 

Such  were  Medea,  Xantippe,  and  many  others. 
Moreover,  the  Poets  say  that  the  Gods,  intending 
to  punish  Prometheus  for  having  stolen  the  ce- 
lestial fire,  gave  him  a  wife.    And  when  Satan 
afflicted  Job,  he  deprived  him  of  his  flocks,  of 
his  houses,  and  of  his  children  ;  but  had  a  care 
not  to  take  his  wife  from  him,  knowing  that  this  , 
was  the  only  way  to  make  him  desperate,  as  it  i 
would  have  done  without  God's  special  grace.  ' 
The  Rabbins  say,  three  sorts  of  persons  were 
exempted  from  public  charges,  and  could  not  be 
called  into  judgment;   namely,  the  poor,  the 
nephritic,  and  he  that  had  a  bad  wife ;  because 
they  had  business  enough  at  home,  without  need- 
ing any  abroad.    The  laws,  likewise,  exempted 
new-married  men  from  going  to  the  wars  the  first 
year  of  their  marriage;  allowing  them  this  time, 
which  is  the  roughest  and  most  important,  to 
reduce  their  fierce  spouses  to  duty  ;  which  if  the 
husband  could  not  effect,  a  little  bill  of  divorce 
did  the  business.    Though  the  Chaldeans  used 
not  so  much  formality,  but  only  extinguished 
the  domestic  fire  which  the  priest  kindled  at  the 
marriage ;  yet  the  privilege  was  not  reciprocal, 
neither  divine  nor  human  laws  having  ever  al- 
lowed women  to  relinquish  their  husbands ;  for 
then,  being  as  capricious  and  inconstant  as  they 
are,  they  would  have  changed  every  day.  For 
the  same  reason,   the  laws   have  always  pro- 
hibited to  women  the  administration  of  public 

K  2 


133i  THE   ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

affairs.  And  the  religion  of  the  Mahometan 
Arabians  assigns  them  a  paradise  apart ;  because, 
say  they,  if  the  woman  should  come  into  the 
paradise  of  the  man,  they  would  disturb  all  the 
feast. 


Quest. — How  did  beasts  come  into  islands?  and 
bow  did  some  remote  islands  come  first  to  be  in- 
habited ? 

Ans. — The  latter  question  appears  the  less  dif- 
ficult ;  and,  as  the  former  may,  perhaps,  have  some 
dependence  on  it,  shall  be  first  answered.  As  His- 
tory leaves  us  in  the  dark,  all  we  can  do  is  to 
advance  some  probable  hypothesis,  which  must 
stand  till  it  appears  chargeable  with  any  absur- 
dity. We  say  then  that  the  world  was  first  peo- 
pled from  the  East,  as  Holy  Writ  assures,  and 
history  and  reason  persuade  ;  arts  and  arms  first 
flourished  there,  and  almost  innumerable  armies 
appeared  in  early  times,  whence  repeated  numbers 
still  issuing,  in  the  same  course  with  the  sun, 
proceeded  from  place  to  place,  and  island  to 
island,  we  mean  those  less  remote  from  the  conti- 
nent, and  which  in  clear  weather  might  be  seen 
from  it,  and  ships  easily  got  thither,  for  there 
was  shipping  as  early  as  Noah.  But  what  is  it  to 
those  more  remote,  as  America,  when  the  com- 
pass was  not  invented  ;  first,  let  that  be  j)roved  an 
island,  and  then  we  will  dispute  further  on  it:  in 
the  mean  time  we  shall  take  the  liberty  to  suppose 


HISTORY   AND  PHILOSOPHY.  133 

on,  that  it  was  peopled  from  the  North-west  part  of 
Tartary,  which,  if  not  a  continent,  must  yet  be 
much  nearer  to  those  parts  than  our  side  of  the 
world. — For  the  second  question  :  Beasts  might 
pass  the  same  way,  and  perhaps  easier  than  men. 
If  it  is  all  land,  through  inaccessible  snows  and 
woods ;  if  only  some  strait  and  narrow  sea  sepa- 
rates, nothing  more  common  than  for  sailors  in 
that  part  of  the  world  to  find  great  numbers  of 
living  beasts  floating  on  the  ice  ;  and  this  way,  as 
well  as  others,  wild  beasts  might  be  driven  over, 
or  be  there  without  so  much  trouble,  if  we  admit 
this  following  hypothesis,  wherein  I  can  see  no 
absurdity.  That  there  were  islands  before  the 
flood  cannot  be  proved  by  history  or  reason.  Let 
us  suppose  there  were  none,  but  some  actually 
made  by  its  fury  and  violence ;  other  parts  of  the 
continent,  only  disposed  or  prepared  for  islands, 
continuing  joined  by  a  very  small  isthmus;  while 
that  remained,  there  was  a  bridge  large  enough 
for  beasts  to  go  over,  which  being,  in  process  of 
time,  worn  away,  whereof  tradition,  observation, 
and  history,  give  us  instances,  those  peninsulas 
were  thereby  transformed  into  complete  islands. 

Quest. — What  is  the  cause  of  titillation  ? 

Ans. — Lord  Bacon  has  observed,  that  a  man  is 
the  most  ticklish  where  the  shin  is  thinnest, 
which,  as  he  adds,  causes  a  quicker  emission  of  the 
sj)irits  ;  but  this  cannot  be  the  efficient  reason, 


134  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

because  another  can  tickle  ine  where  1  cannot 
tickle  myself,  and  my  skin  is  no  thicker  when 
another  touches  it  than  when  1  touch  it  myself. 
The  certain  reason  is,  the  abundance  of  nerves, 
which  are  the  ministers  of  sensation,  as,  for  ex- 
ample, the  palms  of  the  hands,  and  the  soles  of 
the  feet,  are  very  nervous  ;  another  reason  is,  the 
unaccustomedness  of  touching  those  places,  as 
appears  in  this — That  the  hand  is  not  so  ticklish 
as  the  foot,  because  it  is  more  used  to  it. 


Quest. — Whether  it  is  possible  for  any  person 
to  die  of  conceit  ? 

u4ns. — Fancy  is  very  strong  in  some  persons, 
especially  in  those  of  a  melancholy  disposition  : 
the  reason  of  the  Doctor,  in  the  reign  of  King 
James  the  First,  who  undertook  either  to  kill  or 
cure  by  fancy,  is  no  foreign  answer  to  the  ques- 
tion. The  Doctor  begged  some  condemned  per- 
sons to  make  the  trial;  and  choosing  one  amongst 
the  rest  whose  constitution  he  thought  might  be 
most  proper  to  work  upon,  he  preserved  him  till 
the  last,  settling  the  rest,  one  after  another,  up  to 
the  chin  in  warm  water  afterwards ;  opened  a  vein, 
and  let  them  bleed  to  death,  using  to  them  that 
stood  by  such  remarks  as — Now  such  and  such 
veins  are  exhausted ;  now  so  and  so till  they  ex- 
pired ;  and  coming  to  the  last  person,  he  was  ac- 
cordingly stripped,  and  placed  like  the  rest,  when 
the  Doctor  made  a  false  orifice  that  would  not 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  135 

bleed,  using  the  same  remarks  of  him  to  the  by- 
standers as  he  did  of  the  rest ;  and  when  he  was 
going  to  make  the  last  remark  he  made  for  the 
rest,  the  person  swooned  away,  and  died  without 
loss  of  blood,  purely  by  fancy. 

Quest. — What  place  does  the  Sun  set  in,  and 
where  does  it  rise  ? 

j4ns, — All  the  world  over. 


Quest, — What  is  worse  than  Ingratitude? 
j4ns,  —       —       —       —  — 


Quest, — What  is  the  reason  that  simple  water 
distilled  from  green  herbs  is  white  and  clear, 
without  the  least  tincture  of  green  in  it? 

Ans,  —  Colour  in  general  consists  in  these  two 
things,  a  certain  disposition  of  the  parts  of  the 
matter  to  be  seen,  and  the  medium  through  which 
it  is  seen.  For  instance,  a  coal  has  millions 
of  little  pores  when  viewed  by  a  microscope, 
which  imbibe  the  light,  and  being  not  able  to 
make  that  reflection  that  a  closer  body  can,  gives 
that  idea  which  we  call  blackness.  White  is 
always  found  in  a  body  which  has  an  infinite 
number  of  asperous  little  pointed  particles  of 
matter,  which,  by  their  aptitude  to  give  a  great 
confused  reflected  light,  afford  us  the  colour 
which  is  called  by  that  name ;  and  thus  the 
Via  Lactea  in  the  heavens,  which  appears  white, 


13^  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

is  only  a  multitude  of  little  stars,  which  are  only 
discernible  by  the  help  of  a  good  telescope;  these, 
by  their  variety  of  reflections,  which  by  reason  of 
their  closeness  cause  a  confusion  of  light,  give  an 
idea  of  whiteness.  Again,  the  change  of  the 
light  medium  alters  the  colour  of  things,  as  by 
day- light  silk  and  gold  have  other  colours  than 
they  have  in  the  night.  This  premised,  the 
question  is  very  readily  resolved,  and  all  questions 
of  the  same  nature ;  as,  why  red  port  should  turn 
to  white  wine  in  its  passage  ?  The  reason  is  this  : 
the  disposition  of  parts  that  was  in  the  liquid  are 
by  motion  and  fermentation  altered,  and,  by  con- 
sequence, the  same  light  falling  upon  different  po- 
sitions of  the  particles  of  which  any  liquid  is  com- 
pounded, must  necessarily  give  a  diflferent  reflec- 
tion, or  produce  in  us  a  diflferent  idea  of  colour. 

Quest. — Why  the  Moon's  beams  do  not  convey 
a  warmth  as  the  Sun's  beams  do? 

j^ns, — The  first  reason  is,  the  great  distance 
the  Moon  is  from  us,  and,  consequently,  the  rays 
of  the  Sun  are  reflected  very  weakly.  Were  we 
upon  the  Moon,  we  should  find  the  rays  reflect 
from  all  around  its  atmosphere  as  the  rays  of  the 
Sun  falling  on  the  Earth  reflect  a  great  heat,  espe- 
cially from  walls  and  sides  of  houses  ;  and  even  as 
our  culinary  fires,  having  a  metal  reflector  set  be- 
hind the  meat  while  roasting,  reflect  a  great  heat 
back  again.     The  second  reason  may  be,  the 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  I37 

roughness  and  porosity  of  the  Moon's  body,  which 
is  not  so  apt  for  reflection  as  if  it  were  smooth  and 
close.  And  lastly,  because  of  the  globosity  of  the 
Moon  ;  for,  being  round,  it  reflects  the  Sun's  rays 
every  way,  and  does  not  collect  them  so  strongly 
for  any  one  place  as  if  it  were  a  plain  or  other 
fio^ure. 

Quest. — If  the  Moon  has  no  innate  light  of  its 
own,  what  is  that  faint  light  that  may  be  seen 
when  the  Moon  is  in  the  new,  as  we  call  it,  for 
all  the  rest  of  the  circumference  besides  the  little 
enlightened  parts  has  a  weak  light? 

j4ns. — As  that  planet  is  a  Moon  to  our  Earth,  so 
our  Earth  is  as  it  were  a  Moon  to  that  planet,  and 
it  is  the  reflection  of  the  Sun's  light  from  our  Earth 
upon  the  planet  which  gives  it  that  weak  light. 

Quest. — Whence  proceeds  weeping  and  laugh- 
ing for  the  same  cause  r 

Ans, — It  is  from  an  equal  compressure  cf  the 
muscles,  by  the  passions  ;  as,  for  instance,  touch 
a  place  of  your  body,  and  it  itches  ;  rub  the  same 
place  hard,  and  it  smarts.  In  like  manner,  when 
the  passions  act  easily  upon  the  muscles,  a  smile 
ensues  ;  if  a  little  harder,  it  causes  laughter  ;  if 
harder,  it  causes  laughter  and  crying  at  the  same 
time ;  but  if  it  be  very  violent,  jt  causes  only 
crying. 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

Quest. — Why  an  owl  can  see  better  by  faint 
and  imperfect  light,  than  at  such  time  as  when  the 
sun  shines  in  its  vigour? 

u4ns, — Some  creatures  have  the  pupil  of  their 
eye  very  large,  and  are  not  subject  to  so  little  a 
contraction  as  is  requisite  for  a  great  light ;  as 
cats,  rats,  mice,  owls,  and  some  few  more : 
whereas,  the  generality  of  creatures  are  naturally 
furnished  with  pupils,  or  eyesights,  that  will  grow 
greater  or  less  according  to  the  degree  of  light. 
As,  for  instance,  when  a  man  has  been  in  the 
dark  for  some  considerable  time,  and  comes  sud- 
denly into  a  light  place;  or  when  a  candle  is 
brought  into  a  dark  room,  and  a  man  wakes  out 
of  his  sleep — the  sudden  light  dazzles  the  eye,  by 
reason  the  pupil  of  the  eye  was  extended  before 
to  co-operate  with  the  act  of  visibility ;  nor  can 
the  eye  be  easy  till  it  has  again  received  a  proper 
degree  of  contraction  for  the  quality  of  light,  and 
a  due  representation  of  objects.  This  may  also 
be  farther  confirmed  by  this  instance :  cover  one 
of  your  eyes,  and  the  pupil  of  the  other  will  dilate 
to  supply  the  office  of  that  which  is  covered  ;  un- 
cover that  eye  again,  and  the  other  pupil  will 
contract,  for  the  reason  above.  From  the  one  it 
appears  that  the  creatures  above-named,  being 
furnished  witli  a  great  eye,  sights  which  admit 
not  of  a  contraction  proper  for  great  lights  can 
see  best  in  lesser  lights;  yet  they  cannot  see  at  all 
where  there  is  no  light. 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  I39 

Quest, — Whether  the  least  particle  of  matter  is 
infinitely  divisible  ? 

Ans, — Yes,  if  you  can  find  eyes  always  strong 
enough  to  discern  the  last  subdivision,  and  instru- 
ments fine  enough  for  such  subdivisions ;  also,  if 
both  this  strong  eye  and  fine  instrument  will  last 
for  ever ;  for  infinite  divisions,  and  infinite  time  or 
eternity,  if  you  please  to  call  it  so,  are  inseparable. 
16  Prop.  3  Euclid,  will  tell  you  something  more 
of  this  nature,  if  you  are  mathematically  inclined. 

Quest, — What  is  the  reason  that  Millers  are 
more  usually  deaf  than  other  persons  ? 

Ans,  —  We  read  that  those  people  that  live 
near  the  fall  of  the  River  Nile  cannot  hear  one 
another  unless  they  speak  loud,  and  with  an  ex- 
treme vehemency ;  and  that  they  soon  become 
deaf ;  which  proceeds  from  a  continued  and  too 
much  extension  of  the  membrane  of  the  ear  called 
the  drum.  We  have  an  instance  in  the  Philoso- 
phical Transactions,  of  a  person  that  could  hear 
when  he  rode  in  a  coach  ;  but  when  he  was  in  a 
room,  or  silent  place,  where  there  was  no  vehe- 
ment agitation  of  air  to  extend  the  sunken  mem- 
brane, he  heard  not  without  diflBculty;  and  thus 
it  is  with  a  miller,  whose  employ  is  amongst  a  con- 
tinued noise  of  waters,  &c. ;  for  the  drum  of  the 
ear,  being  continually  stretched  by  the  agitation  of 
the  air,  when  he  comes  out  of  the  noise  grows 
remiss,  therefore  not  so  capable  of  hearing  as  be- 


140  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

fore;  just  as  an  alteration  is  effected  in  the  sound 
of  another  drum,  according  to  the  straitness  or 
looseness  of  its  bearing. 

Quest. — What  is  the  most  delightful  thing  to 
a  man  in  this  world  ? 

Ans — Much  as  he  is.  If  intemperate  and  luxu- 
rious, he  delights  most  in  what  he  ought  most  to 
be  ashamed  of;  virtuous  men  will  take  the  great- 
est delight  in  fair  and  virtuous  actions,  the  noblest 
whereof  we  esteem  to  be  obliging  a  friend,  or  for- 
giving an  enemy.  But  were  we  asked  what  it  is 
we  esteem  most  delightful  to  the  most  of  men,  we 
should  make  no  scruple  to  affirm,  it  is  getting 
money ;  since  for  this  only  they  will  lose  their 
pleasure,  part  with  their  virtue,  and  sell  their 
honour. 


Qwe*^.- -Whether  it  is  better  to  lose  the  sioht, 
or  hearing  ? 

Ans. — Seeing  is  the  more  pleasant,  hearing  the 
more  useful  sense.  Without  hearing,  if  born 
deaf,  or  so  from  infancy,  it  is  not  easy  to  conceive 
how  any  can  be  taught  so  much  as  the  principles 
of  Religion,  or  any  useful  knowledge;  both  which 
are  frequently  found  to  great  perfection  in  the 
blind,  they  being  generally  masters  of  vast  me- 
mories, as  having  none  of  those  objects  which  so 
frequently  distract  our  thoughts  by  employing 
our  eyes.    Not  but  that  there  have  been  some, 


HISTORV  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  141 

who,  having  been  deaf  from  their  nativity,  or  in- 
fancy, have  almost  unaccountably  attained  to  the 
knowledge  of  many  useful  truths,  and  under- 
standing what  is  said,  by  observing  the  motion  of 
the  speaker  s  lips,  nay,  sometimes  only  by  feeling 
them  speak,  or  laying  their  hand  on  their  mouth 
while  they  do  it ;  whereof  see  a  remarkable  story 
in  the  Reverend  Bishop  of  Sarum's  Letters,  Letter 
IV.  p.  248. 

Quest. — Why  is  it  that  the  Sun  can  easily  en- 
lighten with  its  rays  the  deepest  waters,  and  yet 
cannot  penetrate  the  clouds,  which  dissolve  into 
nothing  but  water  ? 

Ans. — It  is  because  there  are  many  earthy  ex- 
halations, and  smoky  vapours  taken  up  into  the 
clouds,  which  make  it  so  obscure  and  dark,  that 
the  Sun  cannot  entirely  penetrate  to  give  light. 
And  that  the  waters,  on  the  contrary,  that  are  of 
themselves  clear  and  neat,  are  more  susceptible  of 
the  light  and  brightness  of  the  Sun. 

Quest.  —  How  comes  it  that  the  heat  of  the 
Sun  makes  our  flesh  tawny  and  black,  and,  on  the 
contrary,  whitens  linen  ? 

Ans. — Because  its  heat  boiling  the  humours  of 
our  bodies,  they  become  blackish,  and  by  that 
means  stain  our  skin.  But  linen  drying  itself 
more  easily  in  the  Sun  becomes  wliiter,  the  liu- 
niidity  thereof  being  evaporated  ;  for  it  is  huini- 


142 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


dity  that  takes  away  from  it  its  whiteness,  even  as 
it  may  be  perceived  that  water  thrown  upon  on  a 
whited  wall  will  blacken  it ;  but,  when  dried  up,  it 
returns  to  its  whiteness. 


Quest, — Why  is  snow  so  profitable  to  the  fruits 
of  the  earth  ? 

Ans, — By  covering  the  earth,  it  protects  the 
fruits  from  the  cold  of  the  winter ;  it  hinders  the 
growing  of  useless  herbs  ;  it  partakes  somewhat  of 
fatness,  because  of  the  air  inclosed  in  it ;  which, 
melted  into  water,  is  fattening  to  the  earth.  If 
fruits  bud  too  soon,  it  drives  away  the  vigour  to 
the  root,  by  which  means  they  are  better  nou- 
rished. 


Quest. — Which  is  hardest,  to  get,  or  to  keep, 
an  estate,  knowledge,  or  the  like  ? 

Ans. — As  the  harder  a  weight  is  to  be  lifted 
up,  it  is  the  harder  to  be  held  up;  so  the  more  la- 
bour there  is  in  acquiring,  the  more  there  is  also 
in  preserving  the  thing  acquired.  Hence  those 
who  have  undergone  hard  toils  to  get  an  estate, 
are  more  busied  in  keeping  it  than  they  who  re« 
ceive  one  from  another  without  pains.  On  which 
account  it  was,  that  Aristotle  says,  "  Benefactors 
love  those  they  do  good  to,  better  than  they  are 
beloved  by  them,  because  it  is  more  trouble  to 
oblio^e  than  to  be  obliged  ;  and  women  love  and 
preserve  their  children  so  tenderly  and  dearly,  be- 


HISTORY  AND  PHILOSOPHY.  143 

cause  of  the  pain  they  undergo  in  bringing  them 
forth.  Yet,  because  this  sex  is  designed  to  look 
after  the  goods  of  the  family,  and  men  to  procure 
them,  it  may  seem  thereby  that  it  is  harder  to  get 
than  to  keep ;  otherwise  the  strongest  would  not 
have  the  more  difficult  task,  which  equity  and 
justice  require  them  to  have. 

Quest, — Why  have  some  naturally  their  hair 
curled  ? 

Ans. — Galen  gives  many  reasons  ;  saying,  the 
hair  curls  from  the  hot  and  dry  temperament  of 
the  persons ;  as  one  may  perceive  that  all  small 
bodies,  long  and  strait,  dried  by  the  fire,  do  bow 
and  fold.  Or  else  this  may  proceed,  says  he, 
from  the  feebleness  of  the  matter  of  the  hair ; 
which,  being  not  able  to  remain  straight  in  its 
length,  doth  bow  and  bend  itself  back  again  ;  or 
else,  according  to  Aristotle,  this  may  proceed 
from  the  double  motion  of  the  matter  of  hairs 
which  is  fuliginous  exhalations :  thus,  being 
something  hot  and  dry,  and  by  that  means  par- 
taking both  of  an  earthy  and  fiery  quality,  the 
earthy  tending  downwards,  and  the  fiery  upwards, 
it  must  necessarily  follow,  that  by  this  double 
and  contrary  motion  the  hair  be  curled.  All  which 
reasons  are  very  probable. 


144 


THE   AT[fKMAN  ORACLE. 


PART  II. 


(QUESTIONS  AND  ANSWERS 

ON 

DIVINITY. 


Quest. — What  is  the  reason  that  the  Evange- 
lists  say  nothing  of  what  happened  to  our  Sa- 
viour hefore  his  thirteenth  year,  excepting  only 
the  disputation  with  the  Doctors  when  he  was 
about  twelve,  which  St.  Luke  relates  ? 

Ans. — The  end  an  Author  proposes  to  himself 
in  writing  should  be  his  rule  to  direct  him  what 
to  say,  and  what  to  omit ;  and  it  was  not  the  de- 
sign of  the  Evangelists,  simply  to  write  the  life  of 
our  Saviour,  but  to  transmit  the  Gospel  to  poste- 
rity, that  is,  a  doctrine,  which,  under  the  condi- 
tion of  repentance  and  future  obedience,  promises 
to  man  the  forgiveness  of  sins,  and  eternal  life  '* 
which  Gospel  is  composed  of  two  parts,  one  of 
which  is  doctrinal,  the  other  historical,  of  which 


DIVINITY.  145 

last  they  have  made  no  more  use  than  was  neces- 
sary to  confirm  this  doctrine,  as  the  history  of 
the  miracles,  death,  resurrection,  and  ascension  of 
Jesus  Christ,  which  could  properly  begin  only  at 
his  baptism,  because  it  was  from  that  time  he  be- 
gan publicly  to  preach  and  to  do  miracles.  So 
the  Evangelists  have  omitted  all  that  passed  be- 
fore; and  if  they  had  said  any  thing,  it  ought  ra- 
ther to  have  been  looked  upon  as  a  kind  of  pre- 
amble, to  make  the  person  of  our  Saviour  known, 
than  the  beginning  of  an  exact  history  of  his  life. 

Quest,  —  It  being  certain  from  history  that 
thos€  who  have  been  founders  of  Laws  have  gene- 
rally  pretended  divine  inspiration  for  them,  as 
Lycurgus,  Numa,  Mahomet,  and  others ;  by 
what  criterion  may  we  discover  when  such  pre- 
tensions as  these  are  false  and  fabulous ;  and,  if 
there  be  any  such,  when  they  are  true  and  r^al  ? 

Ans, — It  cannot  be  denied  that  we  ought  to  be 
very  cautious  that  we  have  as  good  testimony  and 
argument  as  the  nature  of  the  thing  will  bear,  be- 
fore we  believe  any  such  revelations ;  the  conse- 
quences of  it  being  so  very  great,  as  we  are  more 
careful  in  receiving  gold  than  baser  metals,  be- 
cause the  loss  is  greater  if  false  coin  be  put  upon 
us.  Nor  yet,  on  the  other  side,  is  there  any  ne- 
cessity, or  reason,  for  fear  of  being  over-credulous, 
to  run  into  the  contrary  extreme;  such  a  complete 
scepticism  being  a  greater  enemy  to  science  than 

L 


146  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

credulity  itself,  because  the  credulous  man  may 
believe  something  that  is  false,  but  the  sceptic  no- 
thing that  is  true,  though  he  has  never  so  certain 
and  necessary  cause  persuading  its  belief. 

It  is  extremely  suspicious  that  a  pretence  to  in- 
spiration is  false  and  ill-grounded,  when  those  are 
wicked  men  who  pretend  to  have  it. 

Nor  is  it  any  more  reasonable  to  believe  a  man 
in  such  cases  on  his  own  single  word,  without  any 
better  or  stronger  attestation.  Indeed,  this  seems 
so  far  from  reasonable,  that  it  is  highly  ridicu- 
lous ;  for  it  makes  the  testimony  degenerate  from 
divine  to  purely  human,  as  far  as  concerns  us, 
even  supposing  it  could  be  true.  This  must  be 
granted,  that,  if  the  mission  of  any  person  from 
Heaven  has  been  nrst  attested  in  an  extraordinary 
manner,  it  is  but  reasonable  to  believe  him  for  the 
future,  for  the  work's  sake,  unless  he  plainly  de- 
stroys what  he  before  built;  for  we  are  not  to 
suppose  God  would  attest  an  impostor,  and  what 
God  does  attest  must  of  necessity  be  true.  But 
he  who  pretends  to  come  in  the  name  of  God,  in 
an  extraordinary  manner,  as  inspired  by  Him, 
and  yet  has  no  credentials,  no  undoubted  sign  or 
miracle  to  attest  his  mission ;  he  really  comes  in 
his  own  name,  and  deserves  to  be  treated  as  an 
impostor. 

Nor  can  any  laws  have  a  divine  origin  when 
they  are  contradictory  to  the  laws  of  Nature, 
coiumon  moralit}'',  or  right  reason.    Now  that 


DIVINITY.  147 

there  is  such  a  thing  as  law  natural,  or  some  com- 
mon incHnations  to^  and  sentiments  of,  what  is 
just  and  right,  has  been  granted  even  by  the 
worst  of  men,  a  Dionysius  himself  owning  some 
respect  for  it,  and  refusing  to  violate  that  law,  at 
the  same  time  he  owned  he  had  broken  those  of 
his  country.  Indeed,  the  best  and  clearest  test  of 
a  law  must  be  common  unprejudiced  reason,  if 
it  is  against  that,  so  as  to  be  absurd  and  ridiculous 
plainly  prejudicial  to  the  interests  of  mankind, 
destructive  of  Religion  and  morality,  it  cannot 
with  any  propriety  be  said  to  be  a  law,  nor  can  it 
proceed  from  God.  And  further,  if  we  had  not 
a  natural  power,  when  unprejudiced,  of  making 
a  judgment  in  such  cases,  why  would  God  appeal 
to  us  concerning  the  equality  of  his  ways  ? 

Nov/  the  opposites  to  all  these  must  be  the 
surest  notices  of  true  revelation  :  as,  1.  When 
we  observe  a  man  of  an  exemplary  holy  life,  no 
way  enthusiastical,  full  of  unaffected  religion 
and  devotion,  not  given  to  superstition,  not  cre- 
dulous or  ambitious,  or  covetous,  or  unjust ;  of 
good  sense,  of  a  candid  and  brave  temper :  it 
is  not  at  all  reasonable  to  believe  he  will  impose 
any  falsehood  upon  mankind ;  and  if  God  reveal 
himself  at  all,  it  is  much  more  probable  he  will 
do  it  to  such  an  one,  than  to  one  of  a  quite  con- 
trary character :  and  what  is  so  probable  it  can- 
not be  unreasonable  to  believe,  though  it  is  so  not 
to  believe  it  when  we  have  positive  arguments  for 

L  2 


148 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


the  reality  of  it,  and  that  the  most  demonstrative 
that  the  nature  of  the  thing  is  capable  of. 

For,  in  the  second  place,  the  same  reason  that 
makes  it  highly  weak  to  believe  any  matter  of 
fact,  especially  of  so  great  consequence,  where  it 
is  not  thoroughly  attested,  makes  it  as  ridiculous 
and  extravagant  to  refuse  or  disown  our  belief  to 
such  fact  as  has  sufficient  and  indubitable  testi- 
monies to  confirm  it,  as  strong  and  convincing, 
and  perhaps  more  so,  than  any  we  have  for  our 
own  estates  or  parents,  or  that  there  were  such 
persons  as  Julius  Caesar  or  Alexander.  And  in 
this  number  may  we  reckon  numerous  witnesses 
to  the  truth  of  some  things  evidently  surpassing 
the  power  of  art  and  nature,  in  confirmation  of 
any  law,  as  of  divine  origin  ;  especially  when,  in 
the  last  place,  the  matter  of  this  law  is  highly 
agreeable  to  the  laws  of  nature  and  unprejudiced 
reason ;  when  it  plainly  tends  to  the  making  of 
mankind  wiser,  and  better,  and  happier.  And, 
as  a  corollary  to  the  whole,  we  may  fairly  add, 
that  such  laws  as  are  contrary  to  those  which 
we  have  all  the  reasons  alleged  to  believe  divinely 
inspired  cannot  themselves  be  so,  because  God 
can  no  more  reveal  contradictions  than  he  can  act 
them. 

It  will  be  proper  now  to  bring  all  this  to  bear, 
and  make  it  plain  and  useful,  by  descending  to 
instances  in  the  most  famed  Legislators  of  former 


DIVINITY.  149 

ages,  who  pretended  divine  authority,  and  an 
immediate  mission  from  Heaven. 

We  shall  confine  ourselves  to  those  mentioned 
in  the  objection,  Lycurgus,  Numa,  Mahomet, 
adding  Solon.    And  here,  not  to  detract  from 
the  wisdom  and  j^enius  which  most  or  all  of 
these  men  were  really  possessed  of,  nor  from 
some  good  principles  they  seem  to  be  endowed 
with,  this,  in  the  beginning,  lies  against  them 
all — that  they  were  not  so  much  as  honest  men, 
much  less  religious,   who  would  endeavour  to 
persuade  their  people  that  they  came  immediately 
from  God,  when  it  was  all  an  imposture.    It  is 
not  sufficient  to  urge,  in  their  excuse,  that  it 
was  for  the  benefit  of  their  people,  and  only  a 
pious  fraud ;  for  the  falsehood  and  arrogancy  is 
the  same,  and  cannot  change  its  nature  from  any 
prudential  reasons ;  nay,  worse,  all  of  them  are 
guilty  of  blasphemy,  as  well  as  forgery,  for  en- 
titling the  Divine  Being  to  laws  so  contradictory 
to  His  nature,  and  that  reason  He  has  printed  on 
the  breasts  of  all  mankind.    Nor  can  there  be  a 
greater  argument  of  the  falseness  of  their  rules 
than  the  methods  they  used  to  support  them,  for 
truth  can  never  need  falsehood  to  strengthen  or 
recommend   it.     Of  Lycurgus,  it  gives  deep 
suspicion  of  his  cruelty  and  loose  inclinations, 
that  he  made  such  laws  for  his  citizens,  not  for 
an  exigency  only,  and,  as  Solon  said  of  his, 
because  they  would  receive  no  better    but  such 


150  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

as  he  used  all  means  to  render  eternal,  and  wisely 
starved  himself  to  make  them  so ;  and  that,  when 
he  had  the  citizens  under  his  power,  he  might 
have  imposed  what  he  pleased  upon  them  ;  and 
in  effect  did  what  must  needs  have  been  much 
more  difficult  and  grievous,  as  the  equahty  of 
lands,  estates,  and  several  others,  nay,  the  secret 
laws,  and  that  of  the  children,  which  were  plainly 
his  own  imposition  and  invention,  and  seem  to 
proceed  from  his  nature,  not  any  political  ne* 
cessity  that  may  be  urged  in  their  defence.  It  is 
true,  he  forgave  Alexander,  when  he  struck  out 
his  eye,  and  it  was  the  most  politic  thing  he 
could  do ;  for  thereby  he  made  many  of  the  citi- 
zens his  friends,  which  otherwise  might  have 
proved  his  desperate  and  implacable  enemies. 

Solon,  whatever  his  wisdom  might  be,  certainly 
w?LS  not  so  extraordinary  for  his  honesty.  There 
could  not  be  a  more  soft,  effeminate,  licentious 
man,  than  he  was. 

Numa,  according  to  the  account  historians 
give  us,  was  the  best  man  of  all  the  heathen  law- 
givers ;  but  yet  is  not  without  such  faults  as  were 
wholly  inexcusable.  He  was  intolerably  super- 
stitious and  enthusiastic ;  he  would  not  so  much 
as  accept  the  crown  of  Rome  till  he  had  asked 
leave  of  every  crow  or  owl  that  fiew^  by  him.  He 
propagated  these  foolish  superstitions  among  the 
people,  and  rooted  them  so  deep  in  their  religion 
and  common  conversation,  that  it  made  them 


DIVINITY.  151 

weak  and  fearful  on  the  most  frivolous  and  ridi- 
culous occasions,  which  sometimes  was  the  loss 
of  generals,  armies,  and  kingdoms,  taking  them 
off  from  a  wiser  dependance  on  Heaven,  and, 
with  submission  to  that,  making  use  of  their 
own  valour  and  reason ;  and  if  there  was  some- 
times a  brave  man  who  shook  off  these  shackles, 
he  was  looked  upon  little  better  than  an  atheist. 

Mahomet  is  hardly  fit  to  be  mentioned ;  every 
one  knows  he  was  the  lewdest  impostor  that  ever 
abused  mankind. 

Nor  does  most  of  the  evidence  they  bring  for 
the  divinity  of  their  laws  amount  to  any  more 
than  their  own  good  word ;  at  least,  none  of  them 
came  attested  in  such  a  manner  as  necessary  to 
persuade  a  wise  man  they  were  sent  from  Heaven. 

Lycurgus,  for  his  famous  Rheira,  which  he 
pretends  he  received  at  Delphos,  had  no  wit- 
ness but  himself  and  a  priestess.  Indeed  he 
travelled  both  into  Crete  and  Egypt,  making  an 
acquaintance  with  the  principal  men  in  both 
places,  to  get  what  he  could  from  them,  where 
he  collected  some  of  his  laws,  making  additions 
of  his  own  ;  and  his  pretending  he  received  them 
from  Heaven  seems  to  be  an  imitation  of  the 
Jewish  Legislator,  who  certainly  had  his  laws 
from  thence,  and  whose  story  he  must  have  heard. 
Besides,  his  way  of  promulgating  his  laws  is  a 
clear  evidence  that  he  had  not  sufficient  attesta- 
tion of  the  divine  authority,  to  which  all  men, 


152 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


as  soon  as  convinced,  immediately  submit:  for 
he  did  it  by  force  and  armed  men,  whom  he 
drew  up  into  the  market-place  when  his  project 
was  ripe,  and  frightened  poor  Charilaus  so  much, 
that  he  ran  to  sanctuary  on  apprehension  of 
treason. 

Solon,  too,  pretends  an  oracle;  but  he  makes 
little  of  it,  and  so  it  is  not  worthy  of  notice. 

But  for  Numa,  he  quite  glutted  his  barbarous 
Romans  with  cheat  and  prodigy.  He  made  them 
believe  strange  visions  were  seen  and  prophetic 
voices  heard,  and  almost  frightened  them  out  of 
their  senses  to  get  them  to  embrace  his  religion  ; 
and  this  he  so  long  used  them  to,  till,  as  Plutarch 
tells  us,  there  was  nothing  so  ridiculous  but  he 
could  make  them  believe  it. 

Mahomet,  to  say  truth,  is  the  pleasantest  fel- 
low of  them  all :  if  he  had  no  miracles,  he  made 
it  up  to  the  full  with  lying  wonders.  Indeed, 
most  of  his  miracles  were  near  a-kin  to  tran- 
substantiation  ;  removing  mountains,  while  they 
stood  still  where  they  were.  It  is  true,  if  you 
will  believe  him,  Alborach  and  he  travelled  many 
thousand  leagues  together,  the  self-same  road 
that  Gonzales  since  took  with  his  Gazas,  and 
Bergerac  with  his  bottles  of  may-dew  and  mar- 
row-bones ;  and  well  worth  their  pains  was  it,  for 
they  brought  back  the  Alcoran  with  them  ;  but 
not  so  much  as  one  angel's  hand  or  mark  to  con- 
firm it,  of  all  those  that  he  met  and  talked  with 


DIVINITY-  153 

In  his  journey.  He  had  indeed^  once  on  a  time, 
a  voice  out  of  the  earth,  not  from  Heaven,  which 
proclaimed  him  the  great  Prophet  of  God.  But 
the  subtle  knave  w^as  resolved  the  poor  fellow, 
whom  he  had  placed  in  a  hollow  cavern  for  the 
purpose,  should  never  tell  tales  out  of  school,  or 
recant  what  he  had  said ;  and  for  that  reason 
made  his  followers  immediately  fill  up  the  cave's 
mouth  with  heaps  of  stones,  and  bury  the  wretch 
alive,  while  he  was  in  so  good  a  mind. 

Add  to  this,  if  there  needed  any  more,  that 
the  most  ingenious  writers  among  the  heathens 
do  now  and  then,  in  spite  of  their  religion,  drop 
such  things  as  show  plainly  they  thought  it  all  an 
imposture.  And  this  not  poets  or  epicureans 
only,  but  the  gravest  and  most  learned  among 
them,  their  very  priests,  and  those  that  were 
initiated  in  their  highest  mysteries.  Tully's  opi- 
nion is  very  well  known  in  these  matters,  and 
has  been  often  pubhshed  to  the  world.  But 
Plutarch  is  yet  more  fair  and  ingenuous  ;  for, 
after  he  has  said  all  he  could  of  his  Numa,  in 
defence  of  Lycurgus  and  other  heathen  lawgivers' 
inspiration,  of  which,  to  say  true,  he  gives  a 
pleasant  account,  "  That  he  sees  no  reason  but 
that  the  gods,  when  in  a  grave  and  sober  humour, 
would  inspire  and  assist  the  makers  of  laws,  as 
well  as  when  they  are  in  a  merry  pin  ihey  do 
musicians  and  poets,  which  we  suppose  nobody 
will  deny  him  after  this and  his  frankly  owning 


154  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

that  thoughts  are  free,  and  every  one  may  think 
what  pleases  him  best  in  these  matters :  as  if  he 
had  not  yet  said  enough,  he  comes  to  the  point, 
and  fairly  defends  lawgivers  for  cheating  the 
people.  "  It  cannot  be  denied,"  says  he,  "  but 
that  such  men  as  Lycurgus,  Numa,  and  others, 
who  were  to  deal  with  the  seditious  humours  of 
fanatic  citizens,  and  the  inconstant  disposition  of 
the  multitude,  might  lawfully  establish  their  pre- 
cepts with  the  pretence  of  divine  authority,  and 
cheat  them  into  such  politics  as  tended  to  their 
own  happiness.  For  those  law-givers  that  were 
truly  inspired,  see  the  next  question. 

Quest. — Whether  there  is  any  such  thing  as 
Revealed  Religion? 

Ans. — This  will  appear  from  the  fact,  that 
there  actually  has  been  such  revelation ;  first,  of 
moral  truths  ;  then  of  the  very  person  of  a  Legis- 
lator and  Mediator,  who  confirmed  those  truths, 
and  clearly  and  unanswerably  asserted  future 
punishments  and  rewards.  We  can  do  no  more 
than  prove  such  things  must  have  been,  and  have 
been  ;  nor  can  we  prove  past  fact  by  any  other 
argument  than  universal  tradition,  enquiry  into 
the  probability  of  the  fact,  and  veracity  of  the 
evidence,  and  the  further  witness,  either  of  ene- 
mies or  disinterested  people,  wise  and  capable  of 
judging;  all  which  criterions  of  truth  we  find  in 
the  two  grand  revelations. made  to  mankind  ;  that 
of  the  Law  from  Sinai,  and  of  the  person  of  a 


DIVINITY.  155 

Teacher  and  Mediator  in  Jesus,  of  whom  every 
good  and  wise  man,  who  has  fairly  examined  his 
doctrine  and  works,  must  say,  as  Plato  did  of 
such  a  future  instructor,  "  I  will  gladly  own  and 
acknowledge  him  the  Saviour  of  the  world."  For 
the  former  of  these  revelations,  the  law  given 
from  Sinai,  for  the  sake  of  the  rest  of  mankind, 
and  not  the  Jews  only,  if  the  fact  were  not  true, 
what  makes  the  Jewish  Nation  so  invincibly  per- 
sist in  the  profession  of  that  law  to  this  very  day, 
though  scattered  through  the  whole  earth  ?  when 
other  Religions,  that  have  pretended  revelation, 
not  having  so  firm  a  basis  at  first,  though  spread 
a  thousand  times  farther,  are  now  sunk  and  lost, 
as  the  Grecian  and  Roman,  there  being  scarcely 
a  man  now  left  in  the  world  who  adores  their 
Mars,  or  Saturn,  or  Jupiter,  or  Juno.  Nor  was 
this  Law  only  pretended  by  Moses  to  be  revealed 
to  him  alone  by  God,  as  Numa  deduced  his  from 
his  Egeria ;  for  God  himself  hath  written  it,  and 
spake  in  a  voice  from  Heaven,  which  was  heard 
by  six  hundred  thousand  men,  mixed  with  thun- 
der and  lightning,  the  whole  mountain  quaking 
beneath  it.  Now,  that  the  Jews  had  the  know- 
ledge of  God  among  them  has  been  witnessed  by 
heathen  authors,  and  is  further  plain  from  hence, 
that  great  men  have  travelled  to  their  own  coun- 
try, on  purpose  to  learn  it.  They  have  no  other 
learning,  say  some  :  it  must  be,  then,  this  learning 
which  they  went  thither  for,  morality  and  know- 


15^  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

ledge  of  the  truth  of  God,  certainly  the  best  and 
noblest  accomplishments  in  the  world.  "  God 
himself  bears  witness/'  says  Porphyry,  "  that  the 
Hebrews  have  found  it."  And  Pythagoras  went 
among  the  Egyptians  and  Hebrews  to  get  learn- 
ing; and  Hermippus  tells  us  he  was  circumcised, 
that  he  might  be  admitted  into  the  learning  of 
the  Jews.  And  Josephus  gives  us  several  in- 
stances, in  his  Discourse  against  Appion,  of  the 
respect  and  reverence  which  the  ancient  Philo- 
sophers had  for  the  learning  and  religion  of  the 
Jews,  as  believing  it  divine.  The  truth  of  our 
Saviours  mission,  doctrine,  and  miracles,  is  at- 
tested by  so  many  thousands,  that  we  cannot 
suppose  him  an  impostor,  without  thinking  dis- 
respectfully of  God  himself,  who  has  left  us  no 
way  of  arguing  stronger  than  from  sense,  and  no 
way  of  judging  objects  of  sense  but  by  sense  con- 
joined with  reason.  The  wondrous  works  of  our 
Saviour  are  not  denied  by  Julian,  Porphyry,  the 
Jews,  Mahomet,  nor  his  greatest  enemies.  They 
are  particularly  recorded  by  eye-witnesses,  and 
attested  by  a  person  of  great  sense  and  learning, 
St.  Paul,  who  had  been  his  bitter  enemy ;  and 
by  St.  James,  and  other  Writers  of  the  Apostolical 
ages.  The  Author  of  this  Religion  proposed  no 
worldly  honour  to  himself,  but  knew  he  was  to 
attest  it  by  his  blood,  and  foretold  as  much  to 
his  followers.  There  appears  nothing,  through- 
out his  life  and  doctrine,  but  what  speaks  him  a 


DIVINITV.  157 

wise  and  honest  man,  far  from  pride  or  vain- 
glory. What,  then,  could  he  propose,  had  he 
been  an  impostor  ?  How  came  he,  a  poor  car- 
penter, by  such  an  excellent  system  of  speculative 
and  moral  truths,  which  certainly  are  not  the 
worse  for  being  attested  by  miracle,  unless  he 
had  them  from  Heaven  ?  How  came  his  Follow- 
ers so  stedfast  in  them,  who  knew  they  were  to 
have  the  same  fate  with  their  Master,  for  propa- 
gating them  ?  and  these  not  a  few  heated  enthu- 
siasts, but  wise,  and  great,  and  good  men ;  nay, 
in  after-ages,  Philosophers,  and  Senators,  and 
Princes;  though  at  first,  it  is  true,  not  many  wise 
or  noble,  for  an  obvious  reason ;  these  con- 
quered the  world,  not  by  fighting,  but  dying; 
and  exalted  the  trophies  of  the  Mediator  over  all 
the  learning  of  Greece  and  power  of  Rome.  And 
the  same  divine  virtue  which  has  overthrown  the 
Neros,  the  Macatiuses,  the  Dioclesians,  the  Ju- 
lians, the  same  that  unraveled  all  the  sophisms 
of  Celsus  or  Porphyr}^,  of  Tryphon  and  others — 
there  is  not  the  least  reason  to  fear  its  fallins: 
before  a  few  miserable  modern  pretenders,  to 
quibble  rather  than  argument.  Nor  shall  all  the 
secret  mines  of  the  treacherous  Deist,  or  open 
attacks  of  the  would-be  Atheist,  ever  prevail 
against  it. 


Quest. — What  is  the  meaning  of  St.  Paul 
being  "a  night  and  a  day  in  the  deep;"  wliere 


158  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

shall  we  find  that  he  was  thrice  shipwrecked,"  as 
he  says  of  himself.  2  Cor.  ii.  25  ? 

Ans. — ^The  meaning  of  his  being  a  night  and  a 
day  in  the  deep  is  plain  enough  that  on  a  shipwreck 
he  so  long  remained  in  the  sea,  on  a  board,  raft,  or 
some  such  thing,  before  he  was  taken  up  or  got  to 
land.  For  his  being  thrice  shipwrecked,  it  seems 
not  a  very  sensible  question  ;  where  should  we  find 
it?  when  we  find  it  in  the  next  text  mentioned,  and 
why  need  it  be  twice  recorded ;  St.  Luke  not 
taking  particular  notice  of  all  the  apostle's  actions, 
any  more  than  he,  or  St.  John,  or  the  other  two 
Evangelists,  of  those  of  our  Saviour  ? 

Quest. — I  have  had  a  few  difficulties  concern- 
ing some  opinions  of  the  Jews  that  I  have  met 
with,  which  seem  to  disagree  with  the  Bible ;  and 
find  there  were  these  several  sects  amongst  them 
in  the  time  of  our  Saviour — the  Pharisees,  Saddu- 
cees,  Esseans,  Herodians,  Samaritans,  Hareans 
and  Zealots? 

Ans, — The  three  most  considerable  of  all  the 
sects  that  were  amongst  the  Jews  when  Christ 
was  born  were,  the  Pharisees,  Sadducees,  and  Es- 
seans. Perhaps  the  Pharisees  might  have  their 
name  as  explainers  and  interpreters  of  the  Law, 
which  was  a  chief  part  of  their  work,  and  for 
which  they  were  in  great  estimation  amongst  the 
Jews  ;  or  rather  from  separation,  the  most  natural 
import  of  the  word,  as  Epiphanius  says,  so  called 


DIVINITY.  '  159 

because  exempted  from  others  in  their  extraordi- 
nary pretences  to  piety  ;  the  Jews  describe  a  Pha- 
risee, as  one  that  separates  himself  from  all  un- 
cleanness,  unclean  meats,  and  from  the  people  of 
the  earth,  who  accurately  observe  not  the  differ- 
ence of  meats.  Pharisee,  in  the  Talmud,  denotes 
a  pious  and  holy  man.  This  sect  was  supposed 
to  arise  not  long  after  the  Maccabees.  Under  the 
pretence  of  Religion,  however,  they  were  mali- 
cious, covetous,  great  oppressors,  merciless  deal- 
ers, proud,  scornful,  and  indeed  guilty  of  most 
immoralities  ;  they  held  the  oral  law  of  infinitely 
greater  moment  than  the  written  word ;  that  the 
traditions  of  their  forefathers  wel-e  above  all  things 
to  be  embraced ;  the  strict  observance  of  which 
would  entitle  a  man  to  eternal  life  ;  that  the  souls 
of  men  were  immortal,  and  had  their  dooms 
awarded  in  subterraneous  regions  ;  that  there  is  a 
metempsychosis  of  pious  souls  out  of  one  body 
into  another ;  that  things  come  to  pass  by  fate, 
and  an  inevitable  necessity ;  and  yet  that  man's 
will  is  free,  that  by  this  means  men  might  be  re- 
warded, or  punished  according  to  their  works. 

The  Sadducees  were  as  opposite  to  the  Phari- 
sees in  their  temper,  as  they  were  in  their  prin- 
ciples. Epiphanius  thinks  the  Sadducees  were  so 
called  from  justice,  as  pretending  to  be  just  and 
righteous  ;  but  this  character  agrees  not  with  their 
lives.  They  are  generally  thought  to  have  had 
the  name  from  Sadock,  the  scholar  of  Antigonus 


1^0 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


Sochans,  about  the  year  3720,  384  years  before 
Christ.  They  pass,  by  the  writers  of  their  own 
nation,  for  impious  men,  of  very  loose  manners  ; 
the  natural  consequence  of  their  principles,  for 
they  denied  a  future  state,  the  reason  of  whicli 
desperate  opinion  is  supposed  to  arise  from  mis- 
taking Antigonus,  who  pressed  his  scholars  not  to 
be  mercenary,  but  to  serve  God  for  himself,  with- 
out the  expectation  of  reward.  This  Sadock  and 
Baithos,  two  of  his  disciples,  misunderstood,  and 
thought  he  denied  any  further  reward.  The}'- 
held  no  providence,  but  that  God  Almighty  is  so 
absolutely  placed  above  the  world,  that  he  neither 
regarded  the  vice  nor  virtue  acted  in  it.  These  opi- 
nions made  them  hated  by  the  people :  they  were 
styled  by  them  heretics,  infidels,  epicureans  ;  no 
name  being  thought  bad  enough  for  them.  They 
absolutely  rejected  the  traditions  of  the  Pharisees, 
and  affirmed  men  were  to  keep  the  letter  of  the 
Law.  Josephus  says,  they  were  the  fewest  of 
all  sects,  but  generally  of  the  best  rank  and  qua- 
lity ;  therefore,  unwilling  to  be  disturbed  in  their 
ease  and  luxury,  they  were  the  most  severe  against 
tumults  and  seditions,  for  which  they  could  not 
be  blamed,  having  all  their  expectation  and  happi- 
ness in  this  life. 

The  Esseans  began  about  the  time  of  the  Mac- 
cabees, when  the  persecution  of  Antiochus  forced 
the  Jews  to  the  woods  and  mountains;  and  though 
this  storm  blew  over  in  a  little  time,  yet  those 


DIVINITY.  1^1 

men  were  so  pleased  with  their  retreat,  that  they 
continued  and  combined  into  religious  societies, 
living  a  solitary  and  contemplative  life.  Their 
numbers  were  usually  about  four  hundred,  ac- 
cording to  both  Philo  and  Joseph  us.  Phny  calls 
them  a  solitary  generation.  They  paid  a  reve- 
rence to  the  temple  by  sending  gifts  and  presents 
thither  ;  but  worshiped  God  at  home,  using 
their  own  rites  and  ceremonies.  Every  seventh 
day  they  met  in  their  synagogue ;  where,  the 
younger  sitting  at  the  feet  of  the  elder,  one  read 
some  portions  out  of  a  book,  which  another,  well 
skilled  in  the  principles  of  their  sect,  expounded 
to  the  rest,  instructing  them  in  piety  and  virtue. 
They  industriously  cultivated  their  ground,  and 
lived  on  the  fruits  of  it ;  had  all  in  common,  there 
being  neither  rich  nor  poor  among  them.  Their 
manners  were  innocent,  being  exact  observers  of 
justice,  beyond  the  practice  of  other  men.  ft  is 
very  probable  the  reason  why  we  have  no  mention 
made  of  them  in  the  Gospels  is,  because,  living 
remote  from  others,  they  never  concerned  them- 
selves with  the  actions  of  Christ  or  his  Apostles ; 
but,  out  of  a  pretended  veneration  for  wisdom  and 
virtue,  they  neglected  all  care  of  the  body,  and  re- 
nounced matrimony,  thinking  it  unbecoming  men 
of  such  a  philosophical  genius  to  spend  any  time 
upon  the  necessities  of  the  body.  Their  way  they 
called  ^*  worship,"  and  their  rules,  "  doctrines  of 
wisdom."  Their  contemplations  were  sublime  and 


THE   ATHENUN  ORACLE. 


speculative,  dealing  mucli  in  the  names  and  mys- 
teries of  Angels  ;  their  carriage  bore  a  great  shew 
of  modesty  and  humility.  Therefore  it  is  not  un- 
Hkely  they  were  the  persons  chiefly  designed  by 
St.  Paul,  when  he  charges  the  Collossiatis,  to  let 
no  man  beguile  them  of  their  reward  in  a  volun- 
tary humility  and  worshiping  of  Angels,  in- 
truding into  those  things  which  he  has  not  seen, 
vainly  puffed  up  by  his  fleshy  mind,  that  being 
dead  to  the  rudiments  of  the  world,  they  should 
no  longer  be  subject  to  these  Dogmata,  or  ordi- 
nances, such  as  touch  not,  taste  not,  handle  not; 
the  main  principles  of  the  Essean  institution 
being  the  commandmen  ts  and  doctrines  of  men ; 
which  things  have  indeed  a  shew  of  wisdom,  in 
will-worship,  and  humility  and  neglecting  of  the 
body,  not  in  any  honour  to  the  satisfying  the 
flesh. 

The  Herodians  were  supposed  either  a  part  of 
Herod's  guard,  or  a  party  that  espoused  his  inte- 
rest ;  they  were  particularly  active  in  pressing 
men  to  take  tribute.  In  matters  of  opinon  they 
seemed  to  side  with  the  Sadducees,  for  what  St. 
Matthew  calls  the  Leaven  of  the  Sadducees,  St. 
Mark  calls  the  Leaven  of  Herod, 

The  Samaritans  were  the  posterity  of  those  that 
succeeded  the  ten  tribes,  a  mixture  of  Jews  and 
Gentiles ;  they  held  nothing  but  the  Pentateuch 
to  be  the  word  of  God  ;  that  Mount  Gerizim  was 
the  true  place  of  worship  ;  that  they  were  the  de- 


DiviNmr.  1^3 

scendanti  of  Joseph,  and  heirs  of  the  Aaronical 
Priesthood  ;  that  no  correspondence  was  to  be  had 
with  strangers,  or  any  unclean  thing  touched. 

The  Karreans  were  a  branch  of  the  Saddu- 
cees,  but  afterwards  rejected  their  opinions.  They 
are  the  true  Textuahsts,  adhering  only  to  the 
writings  of  Moses  and  the  Prophets,  expounding 
the  Scripture  by  itself,  disowning  the  absurd 
glosses  of  the  Talmud.  There  are  to  this  day  great 
numbers  of  them  at  Constantinople  and  other 
places. 

The  Zealots,  so  often  mentioned  by  Josephus, 
were  an  insolent  and  ungovernable  sort  of  men  ; 
who,  under  a  pretence  of  zeal  for  God,  committed 
the  greatest  outrages. 

Quest. — By  what  means  did  the  Pharisees  be- 
come so  powerful  amongst  the  Jews?  and  why 
was  our  Saviour  so  displeased  with  them  ?  From 
whence  had  the  Jews  their  pretence  for  writing 
the  Talmud  ?  what  was  it  chiefly  composed  on  ? 
who  were  the  principal  authors  of  it?  and  of 
what  repute  was  it  amongst  them  ? 

Ans. — Our  Saviour  was  displeased  with  them 
because  of  their  hypocrisy,  which  evidently  ap- 
peared by  what  they  taught,  they  being  in  the 
chair  of  exposition  about  the  time  of  our  Saviour. 
The  priesthood  were  much  degenerated ;  and  the 
Pharisees,  being  more  learned,  took  an  opportu- 
nity to  advance  themselves,  and  expound  the  Law, 

M  2 


l64 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


but  made  the  observance  of  it  to  consist  merely 
in  outward  performances  :  besides  which,  they 
corrupted  and  dishonoured  the  Law,  by  preferring 
their  oral  and  unwritten  traditions  to  it,  which 
was  their  Law  delivered  by  word  of  mouth,  the 
pedigree  of  which  they  thus  deduce  :  They  say 
that,  when  Moses  was  in  the  mount  forty  days, 
God  gave  him  a  double  Law,  one  in  writing,  and 
the  other  traditionary,  containing  the  sense  and 
explication  of  the  former;  which,  when  come 
down,  he  repeated  first  to  Aaron,  then  to  Ithamar 
and  Eleazer  his  sons,  then  to  the  seventy  elders, 
and  lastly  to  the  people ;  the  same  persons  all 
this  time  being  present.  Then,  Moses  going  out, 
Aaron  who  had  heard  it  four  times,  repeated  it 
to  them  agam  ;  and  at  Aaron's  departure,  his  sons 
did  the  like,  and  so  the  elders ;  and  at  last  the 
people  departed,  and  taught  every  man  his  neigh- 
bour. Moses  at  his  death  delivered  it  again  to 
Joshua,  he  to  the  elders,  they-  to  the  prophets, 
the  prophets  to  the  men  of  the  great  synagogue, 
the  last  of  whom  was  Simeon  the  just,  who  deli- 
vered it  to  Antigonus  Locheus,  he  to  the  wise 
men  his  successors,  whose  business  it  was  to  re- 
cite it ;  and  it  was  handed  through  several  genera- 
tions. At  last  it  came  to  R.  Jebuda,  whom  the 
Jews  stiled  Holy  Master,  who  committed  it  to 
writing,  calling  his  book  Misnaith,  or  the  Repeti- 
tion ;  this  was  afterwards  explained  by  the  Rab- 
bins that  dwelt  at  Babylon,  with  several  cases  and 


DIVINITY.  1^5 

and  controversies  concerning  their  Law,  which  re- 
solutions some  time  after  were  collected  into  ano- 
ther volume,  and  called  Gemara,  or  Doctrine  ;  and 
both  together  make  the  entire  body  of  the  Talmud, 
the  one  being  the  text,  the  other  the  comment. 
The  Jews  in  all  latter  ages  preferred  this  before 
the  Law,  holding  that  of  no  use  without  this,  it 
being  the  explanation  of  it ;  it  being  a  little  com- 
mendation for  a  man  toread  the  Bible;  bat  if  he  stu- 
died the  Mishna,  he  should  receive  eternal  life  by 
it;  that  the  Bible  is  like  water,  the  Mishna  like 
wine,  and  the  Talmud  like  spiced  wine. 


Quest. — What  is  the  meaning  of  this  passage  in 
the  Proverbs,  God  hath  made  all  things  for  him- 
self, yea,  even  the  wicked  for  the  day  of  evil  f" 

Ans, — The  design  of  it  is  to  shew  that  God 
has  disposed  all  things  in  such  a  manner,  as  that 
they  shall  answer  one  to  another ;  and  that  he  has 
so  ordered  his  creation,  that  the  wicked  shall  be 
punished  even  by  the  course  of  nature. 


Quest.  —  I  would  intreat  you  to  resolve  me 
this  question.  Whether  God  brings  judgments 
upon  the  children  for  their  parents'  sins  ;  for 
we  read  in  the  second  commandment,  that 
the  Lord  is  a  jealous  God,  visiting  the  iniquity 
of  the  fathers  upon  the  children  unto  the  third 
and  fourth  generation     and  in  Ezekiel,    that  the 


166 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


*'  fathers  have  eaten  sour  grapes^  and  the  chil- 
dren's teeth  are  set  on  edge/' 

Ans. — We  have  innumerable  instances  of  the 
temporal  afflictions  that  children  have  met  with 
for  their  parents'  crimes,  which,  without  a  reform- 
ation in  them,  are  often  entailed  on  many  gene- 
rations. And  sometimes  the  examples  of  parents 
so  far  influence  their  children,  that  they  become 
partakers  of  the  same  guilt ;  but,  except  they 
themselves  do  evil,  they  may  be  assured  they 
shall  not  suffer  after  this  life,  since  we  are  expressly 
told,     every  man  shall  answer  for  his  own  sins." 


Quest, — It  has  been  my  misfortune  to  fall  into 
the  company  of  some  young  sparks,  who  puzzle 
me  about  the  eternity  of  the  world.  They  are  men 
whom,  though  I  am  of  a  contrary  opinion,  yet,  I 
cannot  well  confute.  I  therefore  desire  your  assist- 
ance, how  i  may  answer  them  ? 

Ans, — As  for  the  eternity  of  the  world,  you 
perhaps  may  have  met  with  this  argument,  that 
there  is  no  annihilation  of  things,  but  a  conti- 
nual revolution  and  change  of  one  thing  into  ano- 
ther. There  is  no  dealing  with  these  sparks  by 
Scripture,  which  tells  us  that  God  made  the  world." 
You  must  therefore  confute  them,  from  their  own 
principles,  thus:  The  world  was  not  from  eternity 
in  that  state  we  now  find  it ;  which  I  prove  thus  : 
Either  the  day  was  from  eternity,  or  the  night 
was  from  eternity,  or  both  together  were  from 


DIVINITY. 


1^7 


eternity  ;  if  only  the  day,  then  the  night  was  not; 
if  only  the  night,  then  the  day  was  not ;  but  they 
could  not  be  both  together,  since  they  are  suc- 
cessive of  one  another  by  twelve  hours  ;  and 
if  we  should  admit  the  contradiction  that  they 
were  both  together,  it  would  yet  prove  our  po- 
sition, which  says,  the  world  was  not  from 
eternity  in  the  state  we  now  find  it ;  for  now 
there  is  both  day  and  night.  And  after  the  same 
manner  we  may  prove  that  winter  and  summer 
have  not  been  from  eternity  ;  and,  consequently, 
not  that  revolution  and  change  of  things  as  was  at 
first  alleged.  Again,  as  to  the  eternity  of  men 
upon  the  face  of  the  earth,  we  deny  it,  and  say,  if 
there  have  been  successive  generations  of  men 
from  eternity,  it  follows  that  there  has  been  an 
innumerable  company  of  men  who  have  lived 
already  ;  for,  if  their  number  was  certain  and  de- 
terminate, we  should  come  to  the  first  man,  and 
so  to  the  second,  third,  fourth,  and  so  to  the  last ; 
and  if  we  have  a  first  and  a  last,  then  eternity 
loses  its  definition,  as  a  duration  without  beginning 
or  ending.  But  the  number  of  men  which  have 
hitherto  lived  is  not  infinite,  therefore  men  are 
not  from  eternity.  There  wants  only  the  minor 
to  be  proved  thus  :  A  number  greater  than  an  infi- 
nite number  cannot  be  given,  but  we  can  give  a 
number  greater  than  the  men  which  have  yet 
lived,  namely,  the  hairs  of  these  men's  heads ; 
therefore  the  number  of  men  which  have  lived  i* 


16S 


THE  ATHExMAN  ORACLE. 


not  infinite.  Here  the  number  of  hairs  contains 
the  number  of  men,  and  another  greater  number 
over  and  above.  Now,  w^hatever  is  contained  or 
determined  is  finite,  and  what  is  finite  is  not  in- 
finite ;  and,  consequently,  men  have  not  been  from 
eternity.  Besides,  we  having  proved  in  the  pre- 
ceding argument  that  day  and  night  have  not 
been  from  eternity ;  it  would  be  a  hard  task  for 
these  gentlemen  to  p/ove  in  what  other  dimen- 
sions of  time  those  men  lived  in  that  were  before 
day  and  night.  But,  though  there  is  little  need 
of  it,  we  will  give  them  another  argument.  Those 
men  that  have  yet  lived  have  succeeded  one  ano- 
ther either  by  a  finite  or  infinite  distance  of  time; 
not  by  an  infinite  distance,  as  the  succession  of 
families,  to  our  knowledge,  shews;  therefore  by  a 
finite  distance;  and  infinity  of  duration  cannot  be 
made  of  finite  revolutions. 


Quest. — Has  Gunpowder  or  Printing  done  the 
greatest  mischief  to  the  world  ? 

Ans. — Printincr  has  done  both  more  service  and 
disservice  to  the  world ;  not  only  because  Print- 
ing was  prior  in  acting,  but  also  because  its  con- 
sequences reach  beyond  the  eflfects  of  gunpow- 
der. As  the  cause  is  nobler  than  its  eflfects. 
Printing  is  more  prejudicial  than  Gunpowder: 
since  Gunpowder  would  seldom  be  employed  in 
any  great  execution,  if  Printing  did  not  first  raise 
such  disputes  and  distractions  as  are  the  causes  jof 
wars  and  tumults. 


DIVINITY.  1 6*9 

Quest. — How  may  we  convince  the  Heathen 
that  our  God  is  the  true  God,  and  their  gods  false 
ones  ? 

Ans, — There  are  so  many  learned  pens  that  have 
undertaken  this  subject,  especially  that  of  Hugo 
Grotius,  that,  if  it  was  another  subject,  it  would 
savour  of  presumption  to  add  more  ;  but,  because 
no  pen  can  be  barren  in  this  great  truth,  I  will 
add  something,  perhaps,  not  generally  observed. 
To  obey,  to  die,  or  to  be  changed,  is  inconsistent 
with  the  essence  of  a  Deity;  yet  the  sun,  sea^  stars, 
and  all  the  thirty  thousand  gods   that  Hesiod 
mentions^  have  received  their  appointed  orders  in 
nature,  which  have  been  altered,  inverted,  and 
sometimes  destroyed,  by  their  Author — which  we 
may  call  God,  Nature,  or  what  we  please — and 
this  is  the  God  we  acknowledge.    Again,  that  an 
ox,  a  cat,  an  onion,  &c.  which  have  been  wor- 
shiped for  gods,  could  not  appoint  their  own  being 
is  certain  from  this  reason,  that  they  could  not  act 
before  they  had  a  being;  and  it  would  be  against 
their  nature  to  invert,  alter,  or  destroy  their  own 
nature  —  which    confirms  the  preceding  hypo- 
thesis. 


Quest. — How  a  man  shall  know  himself? 

Ans. — Know  your  Creator,  and  this  is  one  of 
tVie  best  ways  to  know  yourself.  Almost  all  know- 
ledge is  acquired  by  comparison.  After  his  image 
you  are  made  ;  see  then,  if  you  would  know  your- 


170  THB  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

self,  whether  you  are  degenerated  or  really  like  your 
great  original. 

Know  other  men,  see  their  faults  and  virtues ; 
apply  them,  and  you  may  thence  easily  judge  of 
your  own. 

Know  your  enemies,  and  if  possible  what  they 
think  and  say  of  you.  This  is  a  much  surer  way 
than  to  consult  your  friends;  you  will  hear  much 
more  from  the  first  than  the  last.  These  are  the 
best  directions  we  can  give. 

Quest. — Whether  Satires  or  Sermons  have 
been  more  successful  towards  reforming  men's 
manners  ? 

Ans, — Some  Sermons  are  Satires,  and  some  Sa- 
tires are  Sermons.  We  will  not  be  so  unchari- 
table as  to  say  both  are  much  alike,  because  the 
world  is  incorrigible,  and  mind  neither;  but,  tak- 
ing them  as  they  are  commonly  distinguished,  I 
desire  one  instance  of  a  man  lampooned  out  of 
vice,  though  we  have  some  few  of  those  who  have 
been  preached  out  of  it.  At  least,  I  dare  be  bold 
to  say,  our  English  way  of  Satire  will  hardly  ever 
do  it,  since  it  is  for  the  most  part  like  our  fighting, 
downright  and  bloody ;  and  that  generally  pleases 
most  which  calls  most  hard  names,  which  may 
enrage  a  man  and  make  him  look  about  for  suit- 
able returns.  It  will  make  him  angry,  but  never 
make  him  better. 


DIVINITY.  171 

Quest — How  may  we  know  the  Scriptures  to 
be  the  word  of  God  ? 

Ans, — We  have  moral  demonstration  that  they 
are  so,  and  that  from  these  topicks.  First,  from 
divine  testimony,  in  those  legible  signatures  and 
impresses  of  Divinity  instamped  upon  them.  Some 
directions  for  mankind  are  necessary,  and  those 
such  as  shall  remain  standing  rules.  None  can 
compare  with  this,  for  antiquity,  utility,  gravity, 
majesty.  Nor  is  that  strange  effect  these  writ- 
ings have  in  the  minds  of  men  in  the  perusing  of 
them,  both  Heathens  and  Christians,  an  argument 
to  be  slighted.  As  for  human  testimony,  we  have 
that  which  is  to  us  satisfactory;  namely,  the  con- 
current tradition  of  all  places  and  ages,  which 
have  delivered  down  these  books  to  us  as  the  work 
of  inspired  men ;  and  we  may  challenge  all  the 
enemies  of  those  Sacred  books  to  produce^  in  one 
instance,  a  matter  of  fact  attested  on  this  manner 
that  is  not  true.  If  there  have  been  some  men 
who  have  either  denied  or  lessened  the  authority 
of  these  books,  or  added  others  to  them  which 
they  would  pretend  of  equal  authority,  even  this 
is  a  strong  argument  of  the  truth  of  those  Sacred 
Writings,  since  such  accidents  as  these  are  clearly 
prophesied  of,  and  provided  against,  therein.  But 
we  have,  besides  all  this,  the  progress  of  the  Gospel, 
and  the  sufferings  of  the  Martyrs,  to  witness  the 
same  undeniable  truth.  For  how  should  the  doc- 
trines contained  in  these  books  make  such  a  pro- 


172 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


gress  though  the  world  without  force,  nay,  in 
spite  of  it,  and  in  contradiction  to  all  the  proud 
affected  learning  of  Greece  and  Rome  ?  and  why 
should  the  wisest,  and  best,  and  bravest  of  men, 
many  thousands  of  millions  of  them,  endure  the 
severest  torments  for  what  was  contained  therein, 
had  there  not  been  something  extraordinary,  and 
confessing  a  divine  power,  which  first  dictated  it, 
which  has  still  preserved  it,  and  which  will  do  so 
to  the  end  of  the  world. 


Quest, — If  the  Scriptures  be  the  word  of  God, 
how  is  it  that  they  are  not  more  plain,  so  as  to 
prevent  that  variety  of  interpretation,  which,  in- 
stead of  promoting  peace  and  love,  involves  us  in 
contention,  enmity,  and  division  ? 

j4ns, — The  variety  of  interpretations  are  no  pre- 
judice against  it ;  for,  as  the  most  exact  rule  in  the 
world  will  appear  crooked  if  beheld  through  a 
wrong  medium,  so  it  is  here  ;  the  fault  is  not  in 
the  Scriptures,  but  in  the  vitiated  judgments  or 
passions  of  men  :  for  the  diversity  of  opinions  is 
only  accidental,  as  sin  had  never  been  in  the 
world  had  not  God  made  men.  Do  we  question 
Acts  of  Parliament  to  be  really  the  King's  and 
Kingdom's  word,  because  their  meaning  is  some- 
times disputed  ?  It  will  be  urged,  God  could  have 
made  them  otherwise;  it  may  be  true,  but  then  he 
must  have  made  man  otherwise,  and  so  made  him 
not  a  man,  which  he  had  not  been  if  not  free  and 


DIVINITY.  173 

rational,  and  while  so  he  can  neither  be  com- 
pelled in  his  faith  nor  actions.    And,  being  thus 
free,  it  is  impossible  any  proposition  can  be  formed 
which  is  not  in  his  power,  verbally  at  least,  to 
deny,  and  do  this  so  long  till  at  last  he  may  really 
doubt  of  it,  though  never  so  self-evident,  much 
more  in  what  is  only  revealed.   He  may,  he  does, 
abuse  God's  name  every  day,  and  it  is  no  wonder 
if  he  does  as  much  by  his  word.    We  find  those 
who,  at  least  in  word?,  deny  his  very  essence ; 
and  we  may  as  well  argue  there  is  no  God,  no  Re- 
ligion, natural  or  revealed,  because  all  these  are 
abused,  and  made  the  occasions,  or  at  least  pre- 
tences, of  confusion  and  discord,  as  that  the  Holy 
Scriptures  are  not  God's  word.  For  the  same  reason 
we  must  look  into  the  natural  and  direct  tendency 
of  these  Sacred  Writings,  and  what  they  would 
certainly  produce  if  their  directions  were  practised, 
which  it  is  our  faults  if  they  are  not,  if  we  would 
form  a  right  judgment  of  them,  and  discern  whe- 
ther they  are  of  God.  Now  nothing  can  be  plainer, 
than  that  they  every  where  inculcate  peace,  and 
love,  and  unity;  and  particularly  in  the  New  Tes- 
tament.   And  what  can  bear  more  leojible  marks 
of  Divinity,  than  such  writings  as,  if  they  were 
followed,  would  make  man  so  like  God,  and  earth 
like  heaven  ?    And  if  they  have  not  these  effects, 
we  may  blame  ourselves.     Whatever  is  funda- 
mental or  necessary  to  salvation  is  plainly  taught 
in  the  Scriptures  ;  and  if,  instead  of  believing  and 


174  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACI-E. 

practising  them,  we  will  eternally  quarrel  about 
some  little  shibboleths,  which  sometimes  we  find, 
but  oftener  make  in  them,  let  us  not  find  fault 
with  them,  but  amend  ourselves  according  to 
those  excellent  rules  which  are  there  given  us. 

Quest, — Our  Saviour  says,  for  every  idle  word 
we  shall  give  an  account  of  in  the  day  of  judg- 
ment."   Pray,  the  meaning  of  it  ? 

Ans, — The  meaning  of  the  term  "  idle  word," 
cannot  be,  as  some  weak  persons  have  mistaken 
it,  every  word  which  tends  not  to  some  spiritual 
edification ;  but  every  wicked  blasphemous  word, 
as  the  context  shews;  our  Saviour  having  been 
discoursing  of  the  Pharisees  blaspheming  him  and 
saying,  "  he  cast  out  demons  by  Belzebub.*" 

Quest, — What  is  the  true  meaning  of  the  word 
Superstition  ? 

Ans, — Supra,  or  super  statutum  in  Civil  Law ; 
it  comes  from  beyond  or  above  the  Statute.  In 
Divinity  it  means  a  necessary  observance  of  those 
indifferent  things  which  God  had  neither  com- 
manded nor  forbidden  ;  as,  for  instance,  it  is  su- 
perstition to  believe  the  wearing  of  a  surplice  in 
religious  worship  a  sin,  because  God  has  not  for- 
bidden  it ;  and  it  is  superstition  to  believe  the^not 
wearing  it  a  sin,  because  God  has  not  commanded 
it,    And  so  in  meats,  times,  &c. 


DIVINITY.  175 

Quest, — I  request  that  you  would  reconcile  the 
seeming  contradictions  in  the  Four  Evangelists 
about  the  Suffering  of  our  Saviour  ? 

Ans.  —  They  all  four  agree  in  the  principal 
circumstances  of  this  history,  except  one,  wherein 
St.  Mark  and  St.  John  seem  differently  to  relate 
the  time  of  his  Crucifixion.  They  unanimously 
say,  that  darkness  covered  the  whole  earth  from 
the  sixth  hour  until  the  ninth  hour,  during  which 
time  the  Saviour  of  the  world  was  nailed  to  the 
cross.  But  St.  John  says,  it  was  about  the  sixth 
hour  that  Pilate  was  still  sitting  upon  his  tribunal, 
and  said,  after  having  scourged  Jesus  with  rods. 

Behold  your  King,"  John  xix.  I4 ;  and  St. 
Mark  xv.  25,  "  Now  it  was  the  third  hour,  and 
they  crucified  him."  We  might  here  make  some 
remarks  upon  the  original  and  invention  of  hours, 
of  their  division  into  four  quarters  of  three  hours 
each,  into  double  hours,  six  of  which  made  a 
day;  upon  the  four  watches  of  the  night,  and  the 
common  division  of  the  day  into  morning,  noon, 
and  evening  ;  and  of  the  manner  of  beginning  the 
day,  and  correcting  the  hour  samong  the  Jews — 
but  that  the  digression  would  be  too  tedious  for 
this  place,  and  therefore  we  should  omit  it,  and 
endeavour  to  reconcile  them  in  as  brief  terms  as 
we  can.  The  Jews  assembled  early  in  the  morn- 
ing to  consult  how  they  might  destroy  Jesus, 
and  resolved  in  this  assembly  to  accuse  him  be- 
fore the  Governor.     And  this  accusation  was 


17^  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

made  at  the  third  hour,  or  at  the  ninth  in  the 
morning,  which  is  a  circumstance  that  none  of 
the  Evangelists  but  St.  Mark  has  precisely  ob- 
served. So  that  these  words,  "  now  it  was  the 
third  hour,"  ought  to  be  considered  as  a  paren- 
thesis, which  relates  to  what  preceded  ;  as  if  the 
Sacred  Historian,  after  having  related  their  accu- 
sations asfainst  our  Saviour,  and  the  sentence  that 
Pilate  pronounced  upon  him  before  he  passed  to 
the  Crucifixion,  which  was  the  consequence  of  it, 
designed  to  speak  of  the  time  in  which  Jesus  was 
brought  before  the  Governor.  It  is  by  a  like  me- 
thod that  the  same  Evangelist  concludes  the  Cru- 
cifixion, ver.  33  :  "  Now,  the  sixth  hour  being 
come,  there  was  darkness  over  the  whole  land  un- 
til the  ninth  hour."  As  this  expression  did  not 
signify  that  the  Crucifixion,  and  all  the  circum- 
stances of  it  which  St.  Mark  had  related,  were 
passed  before  the  sixth  hour;  but,  on  the  contrary, 
that  they  began  at  that  time :  so  these  words, 
"  now  it  was  the  third  hour,"  that  our  Evangelist 
speaks,  after  having  given  the  history  of  the 
Jewish  process  against  Jesus,  signifies  that  he  en- 
tered at  the  ninth  hour  in  the  morning — and 
it  was  about  the  ninth  hour  that  the  Romans  used 
to  give  audience.  And  in  respect  to  St.  John's 
manner  of  speaking,  that  it  was  about  the  sixth 
hour  when  Pilate  said  to  the  Jews,  Behold  your 
King,"  we  think  no  one  can  make  any  difficulty 
of  it,  since  every  one  knows  that,  in  our  vulgar 


DIVINITY.  1  77 

language  we  say  it  is  about  noon,  although  it  be 
but  a  little  past  eleven,  or  near  one,  and  in  the 
space  of  ntar  two  hours  many  things  miglit  pass. 

Quest.  —  Whether  it  be  a  sin  to  deceive  the 
deceiver  ? 

Ans. — Yes ;  for  although  circumstances  may 
make  an  action  more  or  less  sinful,  yet  they 
change  not  the  nature  of  sin,  for  deceit  is  deceit, 
though  used  to  a  deceiver.  The  command  is  po- 
sitive :  "  Let  no  man  defraud  or  circumvent  his 
brother,'*  &c.  There  is  no  limitation  or  exception 
made,  unless  he  be  a  deceiver. 

Quest.  —  What  was  the  mark  God  set  upon 
Cain  ? 

jlns. — The  Rabbins  say,  that  his  flesh  was 
crusted,  and  made  invulnerable;  and  that  Lamech, 
when  he  killed  him,  wounded  hinj  in  the  eye.  I 
know  a  gentleman  whose  misfortune  it  was  to  kill 
his  friend  in  a  duel — and  honourably,  according  to 
that  notion  the  world  now  has  of  honour  ;  and 
though  upon  his  trial  he  came  off  with  his  life, 
yet  the  action  made  such  impression  upon  his 
spirits  that  he  (?arries  a  visible  mark  of  horror  and 
disturbance  in  his  countenance  to  this  day;  and 
such  an  one  that  causes  many  thinking  persons 
that  are  strangers  to  him  to  take  a  particular  no- 
tice of  him  when  they  meet  him.  One,  among 
the  rest,  meeting  hi;n  in  my  company ;  psilled  m<? 


I7S  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

bv  the  arm  to  take  notice  of  him  ;  and  when  he 
was  passed  by,  told  me,  that  gentleman  has  the 
character  of  Cain  legibly  written  in  his  face."  I 
told  my  friend,  he  had  unfortunately  killed  a 
man."  My  friend  replied,  "  he  did  not  know  it 
before  I  told  him."  I  am  persuaded  that  this 
was  Cain's  mark. 


Quest. — Why  one  hour  s  sermon  seems  longer 
than  two  hour  s  conversation  r 

Ans.  —  For  several  unlucky  reasons.  Some- 
times because  the  sermon  may  be  duller  than  the 
conversation ;  at  others,  because  the  hearer  is  dull 
himself,  and  has  not  the  wit  to  like  it.  Sometimes 
because  those  in  the  pulpit  talk  all,  and  talk 
sense  ;  when  in  conversation,  those  who  love  it 
may  hear  their  own  dear  selves  talk  as  much  and 
as  impertinently  as  they  please ;  and,  besides,  have 
the  liberty  of  contradiction,  the  very  life  and  soul 
of  some  people.  But  the  most  general  reason  for 
this  sad  truth  is,  the  almost  universal  decay  of 
piety,  added  to  the  adverseness  which  the  best 
men  find  in  their  minds  towards  acts  of  devotion, 
till  conquered  by  industry  and  pains.  Where 
men  are  truly  pious  and  religious,  -they  think  no 
entertainment  in  the  world  comparable  to  that 
wherein  they  may  be  taught  the  way  of  happi- 
ness; nor  will  they  easily  be  tired  with  what 
affords  them  at  the  same  time  so  much  of  profit 
and  pleasure. 


DIVINITY.  179 

Quest. — Why  does  our  Saviour  use  that  odd 
similitude  of  a  camel's  going  through  the  eye  of  a 
needle  ?  and  what  is  the  genuine  meaning  of  that 
text  ? 

^ns.  —  The  proverbs  of  all  nations  are  said  to 
contain  the  greatest  part  of  their  experience  and 
wisdom  ;  and  this  similitude,  most  Commentator*^ 
agree,  is  founded  on  a  proverb  of  the  Jews.  Some 
say,  it  alludes  to  a  very  strait  low  gate  in  Jeru- 
salem, called  The  Needle-gate,  through  which  the 
camels  could  never  pass  without  first  unloading 
their  burdens ;  which,  if  true,  were  a  beautiful 
and  apposite  simile.  But  we  doubt  this  is  rather 
a  witty  than  a  true  interpretation.  The  learned 
and  indefatigable  Bochart  has  another  interpreta- 
tion. He  tells  us,  in  his  dissertation  concerning 
the  Camel,  that  the  word  gamal,"  which  signi- 
fies a  camel,  is  also  interpreted  a  cable  ;  and  says 
it  is  a  common  proverb  among  the  Eastern  na- 
tions when  they  speak  of  an  impossibility  —  that 
it  is  easier  for  a  cable  to  be  threaded  through  the 
eye  of  a  needle,  which  is  a  very  proper  and  apt 
simile  ;  and  this  of  the  two  I  esteem  the  more 
natural  interpretation,  leaving  the  Reader  to  em- 
brace which  he  pleases. 

Q7/e^^. —Whether  Virtue  and  Goodness,  or 
Prudence,  be  any  defence  against  misfortune  ? 
or  whether  virtuous  and  good  men  are  not  equally 
liable  to  misery  and  distress  as  the  worst  of  men  ? 


l80 


THE  ATllESlAN  ORACLE. 


What  is  the  meaning  of  that  common  proverb^ 
"  God  never  sends  mouths,  but  he  sends  meat  ?*' 
and  how  does  he  provide  for  men  in  misery  and 
distress  ?  how  does  he  feed  the  hungry,  clothe  the 
naked,  and  take  care  of  virtuous  and  good  men  r 

Ans, — That  Virtue  and  Goodness,  generally 
speaking,  are  a  defence,  though  Prudence  must 
be  used  : — That  God  does  take  care  of  the  good, 
and  defend  and  provide  for  them,  otherwise  there 
could  be  no  providence,  and  then  no  God : — That 
virtuous  men  are  for  these  reasons  less  hable  to 
misfortunes  than  the  wicked  ; — nay,  that  God  by 
his  common  providence  makes  provision  for  all 
his  creatures. — If  fact  be  brought  against  this, 
we  have  this  to  say  upon  it — that  oftentimes  those 
are  not  good  men,  but  hypocrites,  who  are  mise- 
rable; that,  if  generally  good,  they  may  yet  in  some 
things  be  faulty,  and  for  that  be  for  a  time  pu- 
nished to  make  them  better ;  that,  if  they  neglect 
prudent  means  to  obtain  or  preserve  a  share  in  the 
necessaries  of  life,  or  imprudently  and  unnecessa- 
riljr  draw  a  greater  charge  on  themselves  than 
they  can  maintain,  they  must  blame  themselves, 
not  Providence;  that,  in  some  instances  of  com- 
mon calamities,  the  good  can  no  more  expect  to 
be  always  preserved,  than  from  sickness,  pain,  or 
the  other  natural  inconveniences  of  life;  that,  not- 
withstanding all  this,  a  fervent  devotion,  and  ge- 
nerous trust  on  God's  mercies,  promises,  and  pro- 
vidences, are  not  in  vain,  but  they  often  deliver 


DIVINITY.  l8l 

out  of  misery  and  distress  ;  and  none  know  that 
they  shall  not  while  there  is  life,  for  so  long  there 
is  hope ;  and  when  once  the  happy  turn  comes, 
the  former  uneasy  circumstances  render  the  pre- 
sent much  more  pleasure  and  welcome  ;  that,  if  all  , 
fails,  there  is  another  world,  which,  if  those  who 
are  afflicted  in  this  do  not  believe,  nay,  are  not 
wiUing  to  wait  for,  they  are  not  patient,  they  are 
not  good,  they  have  no  share  in  this  particular 
providence  of  God,  they  themselves  vindicate  his 
justice,  and  destroy  their  own  argument. 

Quest. — Whether  Peter,  or  Paul,  or  any  of  the 
Apostles,  used  notes  in  their  preaching? 

Ans, — No;  nor  Bibles  neither  to  put  their 
notes  in.  They  had  not  so  much  as  texts,  as  we 
see  by  most  if  not  all  their  Sermons  recorded  in 
the  Scripture.  They  had  no  pulpits,  nor  several 
other  things  that  are  in  use  among  us.  But  what 
consequence  can  be  drawn  from  all  this — these 
being  only  such  circumstances  as  enter  not  at  all 
into  the  nature  of  the  thing?  Such  notes  as  we 
have,  they  could  not  probably  have;  our  way  of 
writing  not  being  then,  at  least  not  so  commonly, 
in  fashion  ;  for  Zachary,  when  he  would  express 
his  mind,  asked  not  for  pen,  ink,  and  paper,  but 
for  a  writing-table,  though,  it  is  true,  the  other 
way  too  was  sometimes  used.  But,  as  the  Apos- 
tles used  no  notes,  so  neither  did  they  study  their 
Sermons  beforehand,  nor  need  they  to  do  it,  the 


l83 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


giftof  preaching  beingone  of  those  miraculous  gifts 
at  that  time  bestowed  upon  the  Church  of  God. 
As  for  notes  or  no  notes,  it  may  not  be  unenter- 
taining  to  discourse  a  little  farther,  though  be- 
yond the  question,  in  reference  to  the  present 
custom  of  the  nation.  It  is  known  that  our  Mi- 
nisters began  to  write  their  Sermons  first  about  the 
time  of  the  Reformation,  when  their  enemies  ac- 
cused them  for  preaching  seditiously ;  for  which 
reason  they  penned  down  all  that  they  spoke,  to 
produce  their  notes  if  there  should  be  occasion. 
And  finding  this  to  be  an  advantage,  as  to  the 
closeness  of  their  discourses,  and  more  correct 
expression,  they  have  ever  since  continued  it,  and 
that  to  so  good  purpose,  that  the  English  Sermons 
are  now  the  best  in  the  world.  But  there  are  dif- 
ferent ways  of  using  notes  in  preaching.  To  have 
them  in  the  pulpit  for  an  assistance  to  the  me- 
mory, which  he  that  comes  without  must  be  a 
bold  man ;  or  to  use  them  entirely,  without 
at  all  trusting  to  the  memory,  and  here  we  ac- 
knowledge a  Sermon  generally  appears  with  much 
more  life  when  the  preacher  s  eye  is  not  chained 
to  the  book  ;  and  the  custom  of  thus  preaching 
making  the  thing  in  time  much  more  easy  than  at 
first  it  appears.  But  then,  on  the  contrary,  to 
get  all  by  heart  is  a  great  slavery,  and  takes  up 
so  much  time  from  other  studies,  that  we  question 
whether  it  will  be  always  worth  the  while  to  do 
it.    Upon  the  whole,  though  the  common  people 


DIVINITY.  183 

would  never  think  St.  Paul  preached  a  good  Ser- 
mon, unless,  as  some  of  them  call  it,  he  read  it 
every  word  without  a  book  ;  yet  all  those  who  are 
worth  pleasing  had  rather  hear  a  piece  of  good 
sense  and  close  discourse  read  to  them  out  of  the 
pulpit  than  a  mass  of  rambling  nonsense  with- 
out book  ever  so  volubly  tumbled  over. 

Quest.  —  How  far  is  a  Sabbath-day's  Journey, 
which  we  often  find  mentioned  in  the  Scriptures? 

Ans. — About  seven  of  the  Hebrew  furlongs, 
much  the  same  with  the  old  Roman  mile,  con- 
taining a  thousand  of  the  Hebrew  greater  feet, 
two  thousand  of  their  lesser. 


Quest. — When  were  public  places  of  worship 
first  built,  and  who  was  the  founder  of  them  ? 

Ans. — Lactantius  and  many  others  believe  it 
was  a  little  after  the  building  of  Babel,  and  that 
Ninus  was  the  first  who  about  that  time  set  up 
statues  in  memory  of  Jupiter  and  Juno,  and  Be- 
lus  his  father,  which  statues  were  set  up  over  their 
sepulchres,  and  divine  honours  offered  them,  and, 
in  process  of  time,  inclosed  within  stately  build- 
ings, which  were  called  their  temples,  and  built 
within  consecrated  groves.  Such  were  the  tem- 
ples of  Vulcan  in  Sicily,  Cybele  in  the  grove  of 
Ida,  Jupiter  in  the  grove  of  Dodona,  and  of 
Apollo  in  the  grove  of  Daphne.  These  dark 
groves  struck  a  terror  in  the  worshippers;  and, 


l84 


THE   ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


because  they  had  continual  hghts  burning  in 
them,  they  were  called  hici  a  lucendo,  after 
which  they  became  places  of  refuge,  which  use 
some  beheve  was  first  invented  by  the  children  of 
Hercules,  to  secure  themselves  from  those  their 
father  had  oppressed. 

Quest. — What  condition  is  the  most  eligible 
for  assisting  us  to  be  wise  and  virtuous  ? 

Am, — A  poor  man,  being  loaded  with  misery, 
thinks  of  nothing  but  how  to  live  ;  and  so  far  is 
poverty  from  being  a  help  to  virtue,  that  it  fre- 
quently makes  men  despise  laws,  and,  through 
their  misery,  abandon  themselves  to  rage  and  de- 
spair; and,  in  hopes  of  some  redress,  they  become 
mutinous,  seditious,  and  guilty  of  thefts,  mur- 
ders, and  all  manner  of  outrages,  having  nothing 
to  lose  but  their  unhappy  lives,  by  venturing  of 
which  they  expect  to  gain  some  little  change  in 
their  fortunes  and  quiet.  And  as  for  the  rich 
man,  our  Saviour  tells  us,  "  it  is  easier  for  a  camel, 
or  cable-rope,  to  go  through  the  eye  of  a  needle 
than  for  such  an  one  to  enter  into  the  kingdom  of 
Heaven  the  fullness  of  his  condition  affording 
him  so  many  diversions  from  his  duty^  that  it  is 
almost  impossible  for  him  to  find  the  path  of  vir- 
tue ;  and,  therefore,  we  often  see  riches  attended 
with  vanity,  luxury,  and  effeminacy,  all  which  are 
enemies  to  science.  So  that  the  middle  condition, 
where  there  is  a  sufficient  fortune  to  allow  the  ne- 


DIVINITY. 


185 


cessary  means  for  knowledge,  and  to  encourage  a 
virtuous  life,  being  free  from  those  inconveniences 
and  temptations  which  riches  and  poverty  abound 
with,  is  the  most  to  be  desired,  and  Hkeliest,  as  we 
generally  see,  to  produce  these  happy  effects. 

Quest, — Whether  a  Dissenter  is  a  Schismatic, 
notwithstanding  his  liberty  by  law  ? 

Am. — A  Christian  becomes  not  more  or  less 
Christian  by  being  a  National  one,  as  to  the  es- 
sence of  Reliorion  :  but  if  a  National  Church 
agrees  in  doctrine  with  the  doctrine  of  Christ,  and 
Dissenters  ag^ree  in  doctrine  with  the  National 
Church,  neither  of  them  are  Schismatics  from  the 
doctrine  or  Church  of  Christ;  and  it  was  the  doc- 
trinal part  of  Religion  which  Christ  promised  to 
be  withal,  so  that  the  gates  of  Hell  should  not 
prevail  against  it.  But,  if  a  National  Church 
makes  the  terms  of  her  communion  political, 
another  Church,  dependent  on  her,  may  dissent 
from  such  political  terms,  if  the  Magistrate  gives 
the  libertv,  without  Schism. 

Quest. — In  Ephes.  iv.  '26,  we  are  exhorted  "to 
be  angry,  and  sin  not now  when  can  a  man  be 
said  to  be  angry,  without  sin  ? 

Ans, — When  the  cause  of  his  anger  is  lawful 
and  reasonable,  and  when  it  does  not  transport 
him  so  far  as  to  make  him  forget  his  being  a  ra- 
tional creature  and  a  Christian.    The  truth  is, 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


there  are  but  very  few  cases  wherein  a  person  can 
well  be  angry  at  all ;  but  he  may  be  allowed  most 
warmth,  when  either  he  does  himself,  or  sees  others 
do,  any  thing  that  tends  to  the  dishonour  of  God 
and  Religion. 

Quest, — Why  our  blessed  Saviour  loved  St. 
John  best,  when  St.  Peter  loved  the  Saviour 

most  ? 

Ans,  —  St.  John  appears  to  have  had  more  ra- 
tional love  of  our  Saviour  than  St.  Peter,  whose 
zeal  for  him  seems  to  have  been  chiefly  grounded 
on  the  mistaken  notion  of  his  countrymen,  that 
he  was  to  be  a  Temporal  Messiah,  to  conquer 
kingdoms,  and  make  his  Apostles  Viceroys  all 
over  the  world.  Besides,  St.  John  was  related  to 
our  Saviour,  and  of  more  agreeable  temper  than 
St.  Peter,  who  was  warm  and  hasty,  though  well- 
meaning  and  honest. 

Quest, — It  is  known  that  all  Nations  have 
believed  something  of  God  :  but  how  far  may  a 
general  agreement  be  said  to  be  a  proof  of  that 
important  doctrine  ? 

Ans, — ^This  testimony  is  of  very  great  force, 
whether  it  be  considered  in  itself,  or  in  respect  of 
its  origin.  Lactantius  thought  it  so  good  a  proof, 
that,  having  cited  a  great  many  both  Heathen 
and  Christian  Authors  against  the  Atheists,  he 
urges  the  consent  of  all  people  and  nations,  many 


DIVINITY.  187 

of  which,  although  they  differed  almost  in  every 
thing  else,  yet  generally  agreed  in  the  belief  of  a  Di- 
vinity. By  an  ancient  Philosopher,  probable  things 
have  been  ranked  in  this  order: — That  whatever 
seems  true  to  some  learned  persons  is  in  some 
sort  probable  ;  what  appears  so  to  the  generality 
of  some  learned  men  is  more  probable  ;  but  that 
in  which  all  men  agree  is  in  the  highest  degree 
of  probability,  and  approaches  very  near  to  those 
truths  which  may  be  demonstrated  ;  so  that  he 
might  very  justly  pass  for  an  extravagant  person, 
who  should  have  the  boldness  to  deny  it.  There 
is  no  man  in  the  world,  who,  by  his  single 
judgment  can  balance  the  constant  authority  of 
all  mankind.  If  any  person  should,  through  a 
contradictious  spirit,  or  by  any  other  motive, 
affirm  that  snow  is  black,  that  motion  is  impos- 
sible, or  that  two  contradictory  propositions  may 
be  true  in  the  same  time  ;  there  would  be  no  other 
way  to  refute  him,  but  to  oppose  to  him  the  uni- 
versal consent  of  all  men ;  and  if  he  refused  to 
agree  to  it,  he  ought  to  be  looked  upon  either 
with  pity  or  contempt.  He  had  need  have  very 
powerful  and  clear  reasons,  who  should  resist  the 
common  opinion  of  all  men,  and  equally  accuse 
them  of  error.  Several  Heathen  Philosophers 
have  looked  upon  this  common  agreement  as  a 
considerable  argument.  "  The  consent  of  all  men,'* 
says  Seneca,  is  of  very  great  weight  to  us :  a 
mark  that  a  thing  is  true,  is  when  it  appears  so 


188 


THE   ATHENIAN  ORAf LK. 


to  all  the  world  ;  thus,  we  conclude  there  is  a 
Divinity,  because  all  men  believe  it ;  there  being 
no  nation,  how  corrupt  soever  they  be,  which 
deny  it/*  Cicero  has  said  the  same  thing  in  se- 
veral places,  and  has  observed,  that,  although 
many  Nations  have  had  extravagant  opinions  of 
the  Divinity,  yet  they  all  agreed  in  the  belief 
that  there  is  an  eternal  power,  on  whom  we 
depend." — "  In  the  hottest  disputes,"  says  Maxi- 
mus  of  Tyre,  "  in  the  deepest  contest,  and  in 
the  diversity  of  opinions  which  are  amongst  men, 
we  see  a  doctrine  established  throughout  the 

CD 

earth,  which  is,  that  there  is  a  God,  who  is  king 
and  father  of  all  men.  It  is  what  is  confessed  by 
all  the  world,  both  learned  and  ignorant."  There 
are  many  such  instances,  where  the  general  con- 
sent has  been  thought  a  good  argument  for  the 
being  of  a  God.  It  is  true,  there  has  been  a  few 
men  who  have  contradicted  the  universal  consent ; 
but  these  may  be  considered  as  monsters.  If  we 
consider  the  origin  of  this  universal  opinion,  we 
shall  still  better  perceive  its  force;  for  it  can 
only  have  taken  its  rise  from  one  of  these  four 
things.  First,  either  it  must  be  united  to  the 
understanding,  like  to  the  most  evident  prin- 
ciples of  the  sciences,  and  the  inclination  we  have 
to  be  happy  ;  or  else  that  we  have  a  natural  dis- 
position to  embrace  this  opinion  as  soon  as  it  is 
proposed  to  us,  as  our  eyes  are  naturally  disposed 
to  perceive  the  light  when  it  appears  ;  or  some 


DiVtNITY.  189 

powerful  reason,  which  presents  itself  to  the 
mind  of  all  men,  even  of  the  most  ignorant. 
Or,  lastly,  fronj  ancient  tradition,  which  came 
from  one  and  the  same  source,  which  has  dis- 
persed this  opinion  throuoh  all  the  earth.  We 
cannot  imagine  any  other  way  whereby  this  opi- 
nion should  he  introduced  amongst  all  men,  who 
are  so  much  inclined  to  think  diversely  of  one 
and  the  same  thing;  and  whichsoever  of  them 
we  choose,  the  argument  is  equally  strong  and 
conclusive.  If  it  is  from  the  light  of  nature,  it  is  as 
extravagant  to  deny  it,  as  it  would  be  to  say  that 
the  most  evident  principles  of  the  sciences  are 
false.  If  it  is  said,  that  it  is  by  a  natural  dispo- 
sition that  men  believe  there  is  a  God,  why 
should  we  resist  an  inclination  of  nature,  since  its 
motions  never  deceive  us  ?  Or,  if  it  is  agreed 
that  there  is  a  powerful  reason  which  persuades 
all  men  of  it,  we  must  renounce  common  sense  if 
we  refuse  to  assent  to  it.  But  if  it  is  said  that 
man  received  this  knowledge  from  an  ancient 
tradition,  which  indeed  appears  most  probable,  it 
must  be  enquired  from  whence  this  tradition 
came,  and  who  was  the  common  master  of  all 
mankind.  We  very  well  know  the  names  of 
those  who  have  introduced  any  sect,  or  engaged 
people  in  certain  opinions ;  but  we  find  neither 
the  name  of  him  who  is  pretended  to  have  in- 
vented this  doctrine,  nor  the  place  nor  time  in 
which  he  has  lived,  nor  the  manner  whereby  ft 


100  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

was  introduced  and  dispersed  amongst  men. 
It  is  this  which  makes  us  believe  that  the  authora 
of  this  tradition  are  our  first  parents ;  who,  as 
they  could  not  be  ignorant  of  their  origin,  so 
undoubtedly  they  taught  this  truth  to  their  chil- 
dren. It  is  natural  to  conceive  that  it  was  by 
this  means  all  men  had  learned  it.  This  thought 
leads  us  to  another,  which  is  of  very  great  im- 
portance in  this  matter :  it  is,  that  all  men  have 
descended  from  one  man  only,  or  at  least  from  a 
small  number  of  persons  who  were  all  together; 
from  whence  it  will  appear,  that  man  had  a 
beginning,  and  that  we  cannot  reject  the  doctrine 
of  the  existence  of  a  God  as  a  political  fiction ; 
for,  supposing  man  to  have  a  beginning  upon 
earth,  from  whence  could  he  originate  but  from 
such  a  Divinity  as  we  conceive  of?  What  other 
being  could  have  formed  such  admirable  bodies 
as  ours,  and  united  such  intelligences  to  them  as 
our  souls  ?  Let  those  who  deny  this  tell  us  also 
who  taught  the  first  men  there  was  a  God ;  and 
how  it  came  into  their  mind,  that  they  drew 
their  existence  from  Him,  if  He  who  made  them 
had  not  discovered  to  them,  after  a  sensible 
manner,  that  it  was  to  Him  they  owed  their 
being  ?  And  since  it  is  what  they  taught  to  their 
posterity,  we  have  no  reason  to  refuse  our  belief, 
nor  can  we  imagine  any  witnesses  worthy  of  faith, 
nor  men  who  can  give  us  a  better  account  of 
their  origin  than  themselves:  therefore  we  cannot 


DIVINITY.  191 

reasonably  reject  a  tradition  which  came  from 
them. 


Quest, — Considering  we  live  in  an  age  when 
men's  opinions  as  to  matters  of  faith  are  various, 
how  shall  we  behave  in  respect  to  those  who 
differ  from  us,  as  not  only  to  avoid  error,  but 
also  to  prevent  ourselves  from  rashly  censuring 
and  condemning  those  who  embrace  not  the  same 
opinion  as  we  do  ? 

/Ins. — We  ought  to  keep  to  the  plain  text  of 
Scripture,  and  affirm  nothing  as  necessary  to  sal- 
vation which  is  not  clearly  revealed  in  it,  with- 
out permitting  ourselves  to  draw  far-fetched  or 
too  subtle  consequences  from  thence,  or  engage 
ourselves  in  metaphysical  arguments  about  things 
which  are  above  our  reach.  And  this  method  might 
make  us  more  charitable  too,  and  less  censorious 
of  others  ;  because  the  many  controversies  which 
divide  us  are  commonly  upon  such  things  as  the 
Scripture  has  not  clearly  decided  in  favour  of 
either  party ;  the  errors  we  ascribe  to  one  ano- 
ther often  respecting  the  manner  of  things, 
which  in  many  cases  Holy  Writ  has  not  de- 
termined. 


Quest. — Though  I  am  satisfied  the  Christian 
Religion  does  directly  tend  to  the  happiness  of 
mankind  both  here  and  hereafter,  yet  I  desire 
your  answer  to  this  question — Whether,  since  it 


igt  THE   ATHENIAN  ORACl.E. 

has  gained  the  civil  power,  it  has  been  the  occa- 
sion of  more  good  or  harm  ? 

Ans. — The  Christian  ReHgion  can  never  be 
said  to  have  been  the  necessary  and  proper  cause 
of  any  evil,  or  to  have  given  any  just  occasion  for 
it — not  but  that  occasion  may  have  been  taken, 
where  none  has  been  really  given.  At  least  this 
is  certain,  that  what  is  good  can  have  no  real  or 
necessary  effect  on  the  productions  of  evil  ;  though 
evil  may  accidentally  cleave  to  its  productions,  as 
sin  came  first  into  the  world  ;  and,  as  our  Saviour 
says,  he  came  not  to  send  peace,  but  a  sword. 
It  is  we,  then,  who  are  called  Christians,  that 
have  been  the  real  causes  of  those  evils  which 
have  disturbed  the  world  since  Christianity  came 
into  it;  for  to  think  that  itself  has  been  the  just 
occasion  of  them,  is  as  false  in  morals,  as  the  old 
Heathen  calumny  was  against  them  in  natural 
evils,  when  they  used  to  charge  the  Christians  as 
the  causes  of  droughts  and  earthquakes,  and  all 
public  calamities.  What  mischief  has  been,  is 
owing  to  the  want  of  Christianity,  not  to  the 
profession  of  it.  And  those  who  make  this  ob- 
jection ought  to  consider  the  consequence  of  it ; 
for,  if  the  Christian  Religion  has  been  an  evil  to 
the  world  since  it  has  been  supported  by  the 
civil  authority,  it  is  plain  that  it  must  be  owing 
to  the  authority,  not  to  the  Religion,  unless  we 
suppose  a  good  thing  can  change  its  nature,  and 


DIVINITY.  193 

grow  mischievous,  merely  because  lawful  autho- 
rity does  establish  and  defend  it. 

But  we  are  inclined  to  believe  there  has  been 
few^r  mischiefs  in  the  world  since  Christianity 
came  to  be  established  than  there  were  before,  as 
bad  as  we  are,  and  so  much  degenerated  from  the 
primitive  Christians,  though  Christianity  is  still 
the  same.  Many  bad  customs  and  usages  have 
been  broken  by  Christian  Emperors — ^as  the  bloody 
sports  of  the  theatres  and  gladiators ;  the  public 
allowance  of  the  stews,  and  shameful  tribute  for 
them  ;  but,  besides  the  abrogation  of  these  and 
other  bad  customs,  many  excellent  and  whole- 
some laws  have  been  made  by  Christian  Em- 
perors, and  even  a  body  of  such  laws  collected 
by  one  of  them,  as  were  useful  to  the  common- 
wealth, which  are,  as  it  were,  the  standard  of 
equity  through  a  great  part  of  the  world.  If  it 
be  objected  that  Christianity  has  been  the  occa- 
sion of  much  war  and  bloodshed,  it  is  easily  and 
justly  answered,  in  the  words  of  St.  James,  that 
"  these  things  had  quite  another  origin.  Is  it 
not  from  those  lusts  which  war  in  your  mem- 
bers?" the  lust  of  empire,  of  glory,  interest, 
or  the  like,  generally  being  the  cause,  whatever 
is  pretended. 

Still  there  is  nothing  in  the  Christian  Religion 
that  in  the  least  warrants  or  encourages  any  ill 
practices,  but  quite  the  contrary  ;  being  undoubt- 
edly the  best  institution  in  the  world ;  and  by 

o 


IQ4  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

how  much  any  communion  deviates  from  charity 
and  mercy,  by  so  much  the  farther  are  they 
removed  from  true  Christianity,  and  nearer  the 
Rehgion  of  the  Heathens,  which  was  really  bloody 
and  barbarous,  whose  very  sacrifices  and  highest 
mysteries  were  lewdness  and  murder. 

Quest. — I  have  long  indulged  myself  in  a  rest- 
less habit,  which  I  now  find  contradictory  to  my 
reason,  and  would  leave  it.  I  will  not  be  parti- 
cular, because  the  answer  may  be  of  use  to  others, 
who  are  not  without  the  allurement  of  some  dar- 
ling sin.  Query,  what  is  a  habit,  whether  to 
be  overcome,  and  by  what  methods  ? 

A71S, — Habit,  or  an  inclination  to  a  given  action, 
generated  by  frequent  repetition  of  either  vice  or 
virtue,  is  caused  by  a  repetition  of  vicious  or  vir- 
tuous acts.  There  was  a  time  before  the  first  of 
these  acts  which  constitute  the  habit  began. 
Now,  when  the  first  temptation  was  oflfered,  it 
was  either  in  our  power  to  withstand  it,  or  not. 
If  out  of  our  power,  then  we  are  forced,  by  a 
necessity  of  sinning,  from  God,  or  else  by  our 
own  irresistible  weakness.  Not  the  first,  because 
God  cannot  be  the  author  of  sin  ;  nor  the  last, 
because  as  yet  we  were  not  weakened  by  the 
habit  of  it;  so  that  it  follows,  the  first  act  was 
in  our  power.  This  proved,  I  shall  further  pre- 
mise, that  the  general  is  of  the  same  nature  with 
all  the  particulars  of  which  it  is  constituted,  or  it 
could  be  no  general  made  up  of  those  particulars* 


DIVINITY. 

As,  for  instance,  a  habit  of  supposing  twenty 
repetitions,  the  last  is  constituted  of  the  nature 
and  guilt  of  the  preceding  nineteen ;  and  itself, 
and  so  downward,  till  you  come  to  the  first, 
which,  as  is  proved,  was  once  in  your  power  to 
have  withstood  it ;  and  if  the  first,  the  second 
must  also  be  in  your  power,  because  it  is  part  of 
the  first,  only  something  less,  and  weakened  by 
guilt,  yet  not  destroyed,  nor  can  ever  be  abso- 
lutely destroyed.  Any  person,  let  his  habit  in 
vice  be  ever  so  strong,  if  he  is  not  given  over  to 
a  judicially  reprobate  mind,  may,  by  the  assist- 
ance of  Heaven,  reclaim  and  undo  all  his  wicked 
customs  in  vice.  It  holds  also  in  virtue,  wherein 
a  habit  is  stronger  in  the  last  act  than  the  pre- 
ceding one,  but  yet  of  the  same  nature,  and  so 
downward  to  the  first,  where  we  shall  find  our 
own  power,  for  so  we  may  call  what  is  given  us, 
eflfectually  co-operating  with  the  grace  of  God ; 
which  we  may  resist,  for  we  are  not  forced  into 
good  actions  any  more  than  vicious  ones,  for  that 
would  destroy  rewards  and  punishments :  from 
whence  it  also  follows,  that  a  habit  of  virtue  may 
be  lost,  and  the  grace  of  God  extinguished  in  us, 
which  is  plainly  supposed  in  Ezekiel,  xviii.  2 ; 
2  Pet.  ii.  20,  2 1 ,  22,  and  several  other  texts.  There 
are  only  two  texts  from  the  Scriptures  that  are 
brought  to  prove  the  impossibility  of  leaving  off 
habits  of  vice  and  virtue.  The  first  is,  Can  the 
leopard  change  its  spots,  and  the  Ethiopian  his 

O  2 


IQG  the  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

skin?  then  may  ye  also  do  good  that  are  accus- 
tomed to  do  evil and  the  other  is,  "  He  that  is 
born  of  God  sinneth  not,  for  his  seed  remaineth 
in  him  ;  and  he  cannot  sin,  because  he  is  born  of 
God."  Both  whicli  places  only  shew  that  it  is 
a  very  unusual,  dilhcult  matter,  to  do  it.  The 
first  of  these  texts  ought  not  to  render  us  des- 
perate, nor  the  last  secure;  for  they  express  no 
more  than  that  generally  it  is  so,  but  not  always, 
as  other  testimonies  of  Sacred  Writ,  and  the  fre- 
quent instances  we  meet  do  evince  the  contrary. 

Having  shown  what  habit  is,  and  that  it  may 
be  broken,  it  only  remains  to  lay  down  the  me- 
thod how.  A  habit  always  has  its  contrary,  and 
may  be  broken  by  the  use  of  those  methods  which 
contribute  its  contrary,  or  by  removing  the  occa- 
sions by  which  it  is  increased  and  continued.  As, 
for  instance,  a  fire  is  extinguished  by  water,  or 
by  not  applying  fuel  to  feed  it.  Ambition,  re- 
venge, passion,  and  all  other  eflfects  of  pride,  are 
the  best  overcome  by  practising  acts  of  self- 
resignation,  and  subjection  to  Divine  Providence. 
One  of  the  ancient  Philosophers  used  himself  to 
beg  alms  of  statues  ;  and  being  asked  the  reason, 
said  he,  I  am  learning  patience  by  denial." 
A  seeking  of  all  opportunities  of  being  denied, 
disappointed,  abused,  and  affronted,  and  at  the 
same  time  resolving  to  hear  it,  quickly  alters  the 
man,  and  roots  out  the  above-mentioned  effects 
of  pride.     It  is  a  method  God  approves,  and 


DIVINITY.  1P7 

often  makes  use  of,  when  he  reclaims  such  peo- 
ple by  sickness,  afflictions,  &c.  Again,  is  the 
habit  drunkenness,  gluttony,  idleness,  or  un- 
cleanness  ?  the  cure  is,  by  practising  teniperance 
and  chastity.  But  in  these  and  such-like  cases, 
where  the  flesh  is  concerned,  our  Divines  have 
well  inculcated,  that  it  is  safer  to  flee  than  fight; 
not  once  to  hear  reasons  of  either  side  upon  any 
suggestion,  but  to  drive  it  out  of  your  mind  by 
going  about  some  business,  or  entering  into  some 
good  company ;  and,  when  the  temptation  is  oflT, 
to  fortify  yourself  by  reason,  prayer,  and  reso- 
lution not  to  comply.  Examples  are  of  great 
use;  read  Augustine*s  Confessions.  And  so  it  is 
possible,  in  all  habits,  to  get  the  mastery.  What 
is  more  tyrannical  than  the  passion  of  love  ?  and 
yet  how  easily  overcome,  by  avoiding  the  occa- 
sions that  excite  it,  as  converse  with  the  object, 
or  by  representing  the  ingratitude,  weakness,  &c. 
of  the  party  beloved !  In  short,  get  but  a  true  in- 
formed j  udgment,  the  art  of  knowing  things  as  they 
really  are  in  their  own  nature,  and  the  business  is 
almost  done.  To  be  master  of  one's  self  and  ha- 
bits, it  is  indispensably  necessary  that  our 
thoughts  be  good  and  regular,  which  is  eflfected 
by  good  converse  either  with  books  or  persons. 
Hence  we  may  know  ourselves,  and  adapt  par- 
ticular remedies  to  our  weaknesses,  for  there  is 
nothing  impossible  that  is  necessary  to  the  accom- 
plishment of  our  happiness. 


1. 


198  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

Quest, — Whether  the  soul  is  eternal,  or  pre- 
existent  from  the  Creation,  or  contemporary  with 
its  embryo  ? 

j4ns. — Souls  are  not  eternal,  for  then  they 
would  be  gods,  and  not  created  beings,  creation 
supposing  a  commencement  of  time.  Nor  is  the 
creation  of  souls  contemporary  with  any  of  the  six 
days  labours ;  because  it  is  as  impossible  they  should 
be  idle,  being  pure  acts,  as  it  is  impossible  for 
the  fire  not  to  burn.  But  no  person  could  ever 
yet  produce  one  instance  of  their  pre-existent 
acting  ;  nor  will  the  maintainers  of  pre-existence 
find  any  service  in  that  text :  "  And  in  the 
sixth  day  God  ended  his  work,  which  he  had 
made;"  for  though  it  be  literally  true  quoad 
Deum,  to  whom  time  past,  present,  and  to 
come,  is  the  same,  yet  it  is  not  so  qiwd  homi- 
nem,  for  we  see  daily  many  immediate  instances 
of  the  Almighty's  works,  which  have  not  been 
left  to  the  established  order  of  nature  and  second 
causes.  Besides,  it  is  observable,  that  though 
Adam  was  the  last  of  the  creation,  yet  his  soul 
was  made  after  his  body,  as  may  be  gathered 
from  the  order  of  the  words  ;  namely,  "  And  the 
Lord  God  formed  man  of  the  dust  of  the  ground, 
and  breathed  into  his  nostrils  the  breath  of  life, 
and  he  became  a  living  soul."  Hence  we  conclude, 
that  the  soul  is  only  contemporary  with  its  embryo, 
since  there  can  be  no  demonstration  made  of  its 
actings  prior  to  what  are  apparent  in  that  organ. 


DIVINITV. 

Quest, — What  is  the  soul  of  man,  and  whether 
eternal  ? 

Ans, — It  is  a  known  story  of  the  Philosopher, 
who,  being  asked  what  God  was,  took  at  first  a 
day  to  answer  it ;  and  when  that  was  elapsed, 
demanded  still  more  time  for  the  resolution  ;  till 
at  length  he  was  compelled  to  acknowledge  it  was 
an  unfathomable  depth,  wherein  he  might  soon  lose 
himself,  but  never  find  a  bottom.  The  excellent 
Epictetus  thus  accosted  his  friend  :  Thy  reason 
makes  thee  a-kin  to  God  ;  see  that  thou  do  nothing 
unworthy  so  great  a  Relation."  If,  then,  the  soul 
be  like  God,  it  must  be  difficult  to  find  that  out 
to  perfection,  though  something  may  be  known 
of  it,  as  well  as  its  Maker.  An  exact  definition 
cannot  be  given.  Some  tolerable  description, 
then,  will  be  as  far  as  we  shall  pretend  to  advance  ; 
but  therein  hope  to  give  more  distinct  notion  of 
the  thing  than  is  usually  given,  asserting  nothing 
but  what  is  or  shall  be  made  intelligible,  and 
that  from  such  principles  as  are  either  agreed 
upon  by  all  sects  in  Philosophy,  or  have  the  un- 
doubted suflFrage  of  experience  or  common  reason, 
and  which  we  hope  will  be  able  to  solve  most  of 
the  objections — requiring  thus  much  justice  of 
the  Reader,  not  to  condemn  any  thing  before  he 
has  thoroughly  considered  it ;  and  then,  readily 
granting  him  the  philosophical  liberty  of  making 
what  objections  he  pleases. 


200 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


Our  notion,  then,  of  the  soul  of  man  is,  that 
it  is  an  immaterial  substance,  made  after  the 
image  of  God,  which,  together  with  a  rightly 
organized  body,  constitutes  a  man  ;  the  explana- 
tion whereof  \yill,  we  hope,  give  a  tolerable  reso- 
lution of  this  grand  question. 

The  soul  is  a  substance,  which  we  prove  by  the 
definition  of  a  substance ;  a  thing  subsisting  by 
itself,  and  subject  to  accidents.  That  the  soul 
subsists  by  itself  will  be  granted,  if  we  can  prove 
that  it  is  not  in  any  thing  as  an  accident ;  that  is, 
so  as  to  be  absent  without  the  injury  or  destruc- 
tion of  the  subject.  That  it  is  subject  to  acci- 
dents is  plain,  and  that  too  as  a  last  subject. 
Learning  and  many  other  things  are  accidents; 
yet  we  see  some  learned,  others  unlearned. 

It  must  be  a  substance,  because  it  is  not  acci- 
dent ;  and  one  of  the  two  it  must  be,  if  it  be  any 
thing  :  and  that  there  is  some  principle  of  action 
within  us,  none  deny.  This  is  proved  both  from 
the  general  notion  of  an  accident,  hinted  at 
before,  which  denies  it  to  be  a  last  subject,  as  the 
soul  is  ;  and  more  clearly,  by  removing  all  those 
accidents  which  are  pretended  to  constitute  what 
we  call  the  soul  of  man  :  among  which,  it  will  be 
sufficient  if  we  prove  it  is  no  quality  or  tempera- 
ment of  the  body,  arising  from  different  qualities 
and  humours.  A  made  quality  cannot  act;  though 
v.'hen  in  a  requisite  subject  it  may  in  some  sense 
enable  it  to  act^  But  this  principle  within  us 


DIVINITY. 


201 


does  itself  act  both  upon  the  body  and  ideas 
which  it  has  formed,  either  with  or  without  its 
aid ;  and  if  one  quality  cannot  act,  no  more  can 
several,  or  I  know  not  what  results  from  all  to- 
gether. Further,  were  this  principle  of  action 
within  us,  which  we  call  the  soul,  nothing  but 
such  a  sort  of  crasis  of  the  body,  consisting  of 
or  resulting  from  its  different  humours,  this  soul 
must  necessarily  decay,  as  this  temperament  is 
injured  or  weakened  by  diseases,  or  approaching 
death.  But  nothing^  is  more  common  than  to 
see  persons  just  going  out  of  the  world,  when  the 
body  is  in  sufficient  disorder,  yet  enjoying  their 
reason  in  as  high  a  degree  as  ever,  and  frequently 
more  intensely  than  when  in  perfect  health,  which 
not  only  proves  this  principle  of  action  within, 
whatever  it  is,  something  far  nobler  than  a  fleet- 
ing kind  of  I  know  not  what  quality  or  qualities, 
but  leads  us  fairly  to  the  tirst  and  remote  differ- 
ence of  the  soul,  its  immateriality. 

We  come  then  to  the  second  branch  of  our  de- 
finition, to  prove  the  soul  an  immaterial  substance. 
And  this  we  shall  do  ; 

By  removing  any  supposed  absurdity  or  contra- 
diction in  those  terms.  The  common  idiom  of 
our  language,  and  the  vulgar  discourse,  generally 
use  the  word  Substance  in  the  grosser  sense,  for 
something  they  can  feel,  and  which  for  that  rea- 
son, they  generally  call  Substantial ;  making  the 
very  dullest  of  their  senses,  the  sole  judge  of  what 


202 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


is  SO  very  nice,  that  even  it  often  eludes  our  senses, 
and  perhaps  in  some  cases  our  very  reason.  Nor 
do  the  people,  for  this  very  cause,  ever  dream 
that  the  air  is  a  substance,  making  that  and  ghost, 
terms  convertible,  though  we  are  as  sure  it  is  so 
as  that  the  earth  itself  is. 

That  the  soul  is  such  a  substance  we  have  already 
proved;  that  it  may,  without  any  absurdity,  be  an 
immaterial  substance,  we  have  endeavoured  to 
shew.  That  it  is  such  a  substance,  we  shall  thus 
proceed  to  evince. 

The  essences  of  things  are  known  by  their  pro- 
perties and  operations.  Whatever  then  acts  above 
the  power  of  matter  cannot  be  matter  ;  is  some- 
thing above  matter;  is  immaterial.  This  the  soul 
of  man  does ;  therefore  it  deserves  that  title. 

The  grand  question,  it  mtist  be  confessed,  is 
still  :  How  far  the  power  of  matter  reaches  ?  or, 
if  that  be  not  a  proper  term,  How  far  matter  may 
be  modified  by  a  superior  agent,  and  to  what  fine- 
ness it  may  be  reduced,  and  how  curious  ma- 
chines, may  be  formed  out  of  it  ?  That  we  do  not 
pretend  to  resolve ;  but  this  we  may  venture  to 
say.  That  if  we  can  find  something  which  has  no 
relation  to  congruity  with  matter,  or  at  least  is 
not  such  ;  upon  such  an  object,  we  may  conclude, 
matter  cannot  naturally  act.  But  such  notions 
and  things  we  are  sure  are  within  us.  As  for 
example,  conjunction  and  division,  or  affirmation 
and  negation,  still  continued  reflexion,  with  a 


DIVINITY. 

possibility  of  still  drawing  it  finer  and  finer,  al- 
most infinitely.  These  things  mere  matter  seems 
not  capable  of,  how  subtle  and  fine  soever  it  may 
be,  because  it  acts  only  by  images ;  but  we  have 
no  image  of  affirmation  and  negation,  or  reflexion. 
Actions,  we  are  sure,  pass  within  us,  and  which  we 
learned  not  from  abroad,  but  could  exercise  as 
long  since  as  we  are  able  to  remember.  The 
words  indeed,  by  which  we  express  those  actions, 
we  receive  from  abroad,  but  not  the  things.  I 
have  a  notion  of  a  tree,  a  house,  a  man,  in  my 
fancy;  and  can  shut  my  eye,  and  reflect  vividly 
enough  on  the  shapes  of  them  depicted  in  my 
brain  ;  but  defy  all  the  world  to  shew  me  a  pic- 
ture of  that  reflexion,  and  so  onward  ;  or  to  tell 
me  in  w  hat  colours.  The  act  of  affirmation  and 
negation,  I  will,"  and  I  will  not,"  are  inscribed 
in  the  fancy. 

Nay,  further,  the  very  notion  or  idea  of  an 
immaterial  or  spiritual  substance,  which  we  find, 
much  after  the  same  manner  with  those  before 
mentioned,  instamped  on  our  minds,  would  be  a 
very  considerable  argument  of  the  truth  and  reality 
of  the  thing  itself,  could  we  once  prove  it  innate^ 
and  not  received  from  outward  images,  by  dis- 
course or  reading,  but  this  it  is  possible  in  a  great 
measure  to  perform;  for  we  find  no  beginning  in 
history  of  this  notion.  No  age,  nor  perhaps 
place,  where  it  is  not  believed  ;  confusedly  or  not, 
is  not  the  question;  since  it  is  Enough  we  are  thus 


S04  TH£  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

far  certain,  that  a  state  after  death  has  been  univer- 
sally credited,  and  that  we  have  something  in  us 
which  survives  our  bodies.  But  the  politic  insti- 
tutions and  laws  of,  perhaps,  all  Nations  in  the 
world,  we  can  trace  and  discover ;  of  this  we  can 
never  find  the  root,  nor  ever  shall  any  where  but 
in  ourselves,  how  long  soever  we  continue  the 
fruitless  inquiry^ 

The  next  branch  of  our  description  of  the  soul  is, 
that  it  is  made  after  the  image  of  God.  Nor  will  that 
be  found  so  loose  or  indistinct  a  notion  as  some  will 
at  first  glance  perhaps  imagine  it.  1  believe  Moses 
wrote  as  a  Philosopher  as  well  as  a  Divine,  at  least 
in  what  concerns  the  happiness  of  man,  under 
which  some  competent  knowledge  of  his  own  soul 
seems  to  be  included,  gives  us  just  notions  of 
things.  He  tells  us,  that  "  man  was  created  after 
God's  image this  I  do  not  expect  should  pass 
with  those  who  pretend  themselves  so  averse  to 
authority,  without  reason.  It  is  from  experience 
then,  both  of  others  and  themselves,  we  are  to  ar- 
gue with  them.  Accordingly,  we  say  that  man  was 
made  with  a  dependance  on,  subservient  to,  and 
image  of  God — as  beasts  bear  the  same  relation  to 
man ;  and  add,  that  this  image  will  very  much 
explain  the  human  soul,  add  gives  us  some  of 
those  incommunicable  properties  thereof,  which 
no  beast  possesses,  though  they  have  some  sort 
of  image  or  resemblance  of  them. 

We  all  then  acknowledge,  that  that  adorable 


DIVINITY. 

Perfection  who  made  the  world  is  unbounded  or 
infinite  in  all  his  attributes.    We  shall  instance 
in  some  of  them,  and  shew  the  resemblance  our 
souls  bear  towards  them,  both  as  to  their  extent 
and  perfection.    And  these  are,  the  knowledge  of 
of  God,  his  power  and  sovereignty,  and  his  jus- 
tice, and  love  of  order.     Now,  the  soul  has  a 
lively  image  or  resemblance  of  the  first  of  these, 
in  its  infinite  capacity,  and  unbounded  desire  of 
knowledge,  which,  whatever  these  may  have,  has 
hardly  any  share  to  which  it  may  go,  and  no  fur- 
ther, nor  can  ever  be  satisfied  with  less  than  an 
infinite  object.    It  has,  secondly,  an  image  of  the 
sovereignty  and  power  of  God,  in  that  empire  it 
has  over  itself  and  the  visible  world,  and  that  no- 
ble liberty  it  has  towards  representing  objects. 
This  desire  too  is  inexplicable  by  all  the  world, 
and  carries  a  sort  of  an  infiniteness  in  it.  Lastly, 
it  carries  with  it  an  image  of  the  justice  of  God, 
in  its  natural  love  of  order,  and  that  conscience 
which  it  can  never  totally  efface,  but  which  sits 
enthroned  in  the  mind,  is  absolute  and  sovereign 
there,   can  never  be  forced  or  controlled,  but 
passes  judgment  within  itself,  both  of  a  man's 
own  actions  and  those  of  the  universe. 

Nor  is  any  of  this  supposed  only  ;  it  is  plain  un- 
deniable matter  of  fact,  and  what  all  the  world 
must  acknowledge,  if  they  be  either  just  or  inge- 
nious. 

But  none  of  all  these  divine  signatures  are,  that 
we  know  of,  in  brute  creatures,  which  are  but 


206 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


mere  modified  matter;  nor  ought  we  to  grant  any 
powers  in  them,  which  cannot  be  proved  and 
cleared  by  such  acts  as  are  not  equivocal  and  un- 
certain. Their  knowledge,  if  they  have  any  thing 
that  can  be  called  so,  has  nothing  like  infinite  in 
it,  nor  so  much  as  a  capacity  thereunto.    It  is  but 
the  faint  image  of  ours,  as  ours  is  of  a  higher ; 
and  must  needs  be  as  dilute  and  weak  as  the  rays 
of  the  sun  when  reflected  and  refracted  several 
times  from  one  object  to  another.    It  is  only  or 
principally  for  the  service  of  man,  to  whom  it  is 
of  much  more  use  than  to  themselves.    It  is  li- 
mited one  way,  for  one  direct  use  and  end.  There 
appears  no  consciousness  of  it,  nor  reflection  upon 
it,  abstractedly  considered,  as  we  are  sure  we  have 
in  our  own,  and  can  never  prove  in  theirs;  and  so 
in  the  other  instances  mentioned.  The  last  clause 
of  the  description  is  this,  which,  united  with  a 
fitly  organized  body,   constitutes  a  man.  As 
what  went  before  distino^uished  it  from  mere 
matter,  so  this  does  from  mere  spirit,  or  Angel. 

As  for  the  latter  branch  of  the  question,  whether 
this  soul  be  eternal  ?  If  what  is  already  proved 
stands  firm,  that  will  hardly  be  denied :  for 
if  by  eternal  is  intended  only  immortal,  as  I  pre- 
sume the  Querist  only  means,  or  eternal  a  pat  te- 
post,  as  the  Schools  call  it ;  it  must  unavoidably 
be  so  because  it  is  immaterial ;  for  I  can  conceive 
no  means  of  its  ceasing  to  be,  because  I  can  have 
no  notion  of  a  dissolution  where  there  are  no  parts 
in  one  without  each  other. 


DIVINITY. 


207 


Quest. — Whether  all  souls  are  alike  r 
yifi^, — All  souls  are  of  equal  excellence  and  per- 
fection, as  well  the  soul  of  an  embryo,  as  of  Aris- 
totle, if  you  speak  of  the  essential  or  specific  ex- 
cellence, which  is  equally  communicated  to  all  the 
singulars  or  individuals  of  the  same  species :  for 
there  is  but  one  specific  difference  by  which  man, 
and  every  particular  man,  is  distinguished  from 
the  beasts ;  so  that  one  man  is  not  more  reasonable 
than  another.    It  is  true  that  the  genius  may  be 
more  perfect  in  one  species  than  in  another;  so 
man  is  a  more  excellent  creature  than  a  beast,  be- 
cause the  difference  of  rationality  which  is  in 
man  is  more  excellent  than  the  irrationality  of 
beasts.    But  Peter  is  not  a  more  excellent  man 
than  Paul,  because  the  specific  difference  is  not 
more  in  Peter  than  in  Paul.  In  respect  of  some  ac- 
cidental differences,  there  may  be  some  inequa- 
lity ;  but  these  concern  not  the  nature  or  essence 
of  man.   Even  so  one  soul  may  have  more  know- 
ledge or  other  accidental  perfection  than  another, 
in  respect  of  fitter  organs,  otherwise  the  same  es- 
sential excellence  is  equal  in  all,  and  the  soul  of 
a  fool  is  not  less  excellent  than  that  of  Solomon  ; 
nor  of  an  embryo  than  of  him  who  has  Hved  an 
hundred  years,  except  in  accidental  perfections ; 
for,  had  the  embryo's  soul  the  same  perfection  of 
organs,  &c.  that  the  soul  of  Aristotle  had,  she 
would  exercise  the  same  organical  acts  that  he  did ; 
that  is,  the  same  that  immediately  flow  from,  and 
depend  upon  the  soul. 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


Quest. — In  what  part  of  the  body  is  the  soul? 

j4ns, — It  is  generally  held  in  every  part;  at 
least  we  are  sure  it  is  not  in  a  place  in  the  same 
manner  that  body  is  but  a  spirit,  if  we  knew  how 
that  was.  But  its  noblest  operations,  imagining 
and  thinking,  are  undoubtedly  transacted  in  the 
brain.  This  we  are  sure  of,  that  in  deep  think* 
ing  we  feel  our  heads  otherwise  affected  than  at 
other  times ;  and  afterwards  we  as  certainly  know 
they  have  been  at  hard  labour,  by  that  pain  and 
lassitude  we  find  in  them,  as  that  our  feet  or  hands 
have  been  so,  when,  after  a  long  w^alk  or  manual 
operation,  they  are  affected  in  the  same  manner. 
The  clearest  notion  of  the  soul's  essence  is,  that 
it  is  the  image  of  God.  As  God  is  every  where  in 
the  greatest  world,  so  it  is  according  to  its  propor- 
tion and  similitude  in  the  lesser,  or  the  body  of 
man.  It  sits,  perhaps,  in  its  throne  in  the  head  ; 
but  its  action  not  confined  there,  but  diflfused 
through  all  parts,  and  actuating  them  according 
to  their  natures. 


Quest. — Whether  separate  souls  know  one  ano- 
ther, seeing  they  have  not  the  organs  of  seeing, 
speech,  &c.  ? 

Ans, — There  is  certainly  a  communication  of 
Angels  and  souls  in  Heaven,  as  appears  from  seve- 
ral texts,  Rev.  vii.  t),  10,  11,  12.  1  Cor.  xiii.  I. 
Dan.  viii.  13.  But  we  can  conceive  this  communi- 
cation to  be  chiefly  an  ability  of  insinuating  their 
thoughts  to  each  other  by  a  mere  act  of  their 


DIVINITY. 

wills,  just  as  we  now  speak  to  God,  or  ourselves 
when  our  lips  do  not  move,  or  the  least  outward 
sign  appears.  Whether  there  is  any  other  con- 
verse we  know  not ;  but  that  there  is  what  is  suffi- 
cient to  know  and  to  be  known  we  are  satisfied. 


Quest, — What  have  the  Philosophers,  guided 
only  by  natural  reason,  conceived  as  to  the  future 
state  of  the  coul  ? 

Ans, — When  Socrates  had  the  fatal  draught, 
looking  upon  the  officers  of  death,  he  said, 
that  it  did  not  seem  to  him  that  they  led  him  to 
death,  but  that  he  was  going  to  mount  up  to  hea- 
ven." Cato  embraced  his  son  after  he  had  awhile 
contemplated  the  immortality  of  the  soul.  Plu- 
tarch saith,  "  the  wise  man  goes  with  pleasure  out 
of  the  darkness  of  the  earth,  to  enjoy  in  heaven 
an  immortal  light  with  the  gods." — "  Have  cou- 
rage," says  another ;  "  let  not  death  affright  us, 
since  after  death  we  shall  either  be  gods,  or  like 
gods.  Let  us  not  fear  that  our  bodies  will  bury 
our  souls  under  their  ruins.  When  this  corporeal 
nature  shall  entirely  perish  and  disappear,  there 
is  a  necessity  that  the  spirit  which  animates  us, 
and  is  the  foundation  of  our  being,  must  remain 
without  being  hurt  or  damaged  by  them. 


Quest, — Whetherthesoulsof  studious  orlearned 
men  are  not  more  perfect  in  the  world  to  come, 

r 


910 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


than  the  souls  of  the  ignorant  and  illiterate,  if 
you  suppose  them  equally  pious  here  ? 

Am, — Piety  takes  its  estimate  both  from  know- 
ledge and  practice,  so  that  there  cannot  be  an 
equality  between  souls  equally  careful  and  indus- 
trious here ;  for  the  motive  and  manner  of  this 
care  are  different  in  themselves,  and  act  by  senti- 
ments not  in  the  nature,  but  in  the  manner.  As, 
for  instance,  two  persons  go  along  the  streets ;  one 
sees  clearly,  and  the  other  is  almost  blind:  they 
both  go  the  same  journey,  take  the  same  care  of 
impediments ;  but  he  that  sees  best  has  a  better 
prospect  of  the  journey's  end,  and  can  go  with 
greater  pleasure,  being  better  able  to  avoid  the 
inconveniences  of  the  way  than  the  other.  I 
shall  not  enter  into  the  dispute  whether  doing  or 
suffering  shall  have  the  greater  reward  hereafter ; 
for  they  both  proceed  from  one  principle;  but 
certainly,  the  more  we  are  like  God  both  in  know- 
ledge and  holiness,  the  higher  our  preferment  will 
be  hereafter  with  him ;  and  no  doubt  this  differ- 
ence will  much  depend  upon  the  improvements 
we  ourselves  make  of  our  time  m  this  world. 

Quest, — Where  is  the  soul  of  man  when  he  is 
in  a  swoon  r 

Ans. — Wherever  it  is,  or  whatever  it  is  doing, 
the  body  knows  nothing  of  it.  The  sensitive 
faculties  being  useless  by  the  unfitness  of  the  or- 
gans, and  the  common  sense,  imagination,  me- 


DIVINITT. 


211 


mory,  and  all  stand  still,  as  the  different  wheels 
and  motions  of  a  watch  or  clock,  when  either  the 
weight  is  down,  or  any  great  spring  or  wheel  is 
disordered.  The  soul  undoubtedly  acts  at  pre* 
sent  by  the  corporeal  organs  ;  and  accordingly 
we  are  not  likely  to  remember  what  passes  when 
we  are  in  the  condition  before  mentioned.  The 
soul  is  still  in  the  body,  as  much  as  spirit  can  be 
in  place,  as  much  as  it  was  before  the  person  first 
swooned,  and  remains  there  as  long  as  the  body 
is  any  way  tenantable,  which  it  may  be  for  some 
time,  though  perhaps  a  little  out  of  repair  ;  or  else, 
for  aught  we  know,  till  God  himself  commands  it 
away,  to  return  to  him  that  gave  it;  and  that  as 
realh^  and  distinctly  as  he  sends  it  first  into  the 
body  of  the  child  in  the  womb  of  the  mother. 

Quest,  —  Whether  there  is  such  a  particular 
period  set  to  the  life  of  every  particular  man,  as 
that  he  cannot  in  the  course  of  nature  go  beyond 
it,  and  that  he  shall  fulfil  such  a  period,  notwith- 
standing any  dangers  of  casualties  he  may  engage 
witlial  ? 

^w^.-— There  have  been  many  authors  that  have 
controverted  this  case.  The  two  principal  texts, 
brought  by  such  as  hold  the  afiirniative,  are  that 
of  Job,  Thou  hast  appointed  his  hounds^  be- 
yond which  he  cannot  pass ;  and  the  other  is  that 
of  our  Saviour,  Alt/  hour  is  not  yet  come.  The 
meaning  of  the  first  appears  to  us,  that  God  has 

?  2 


212 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


sentenced  numkind  to  mortality,  and  has  so  laid 
the  chain  of  causes,  that  man  shall  not  outhve 
the  boimds  ordinarily  of  seventy  years,  or  a 
few  more,  hecause  of  the  conveniency  of  the 
world,  and  the  succession  of  generations.  As  for 
the  second,  our  Saviour  very  well  knew  the  con- 
spiracy, time,  and  manner  of  his  death,  with 
every  preceding  circumstance  that  would  concur 
therewith ;  and  therefore  he  might  properly  say, 
"  his  hour  was  not  yet  come,"  before  that  time. 
Common  experience  shews  that  the  temj^erate 
live  long  and  healthful,  when  the  mtemperate 
die  quickly.  Now  for  a  man  to  say  that  God  or- 
dains the  means  and  the  end,  is  to  say  that  God 
is  the  author  of  sin: — if  so,  murders,  rapine,  vio- 
lence, and  all  wickedness  whatever,  have  a  safe 
retreat,  nan)ely,  a  necessity — that  it  could  not  be 
avoided  ;  and  if  so,  farewell  rewards  and  punish- 
ments, heaven  and  hell,  nay,  even  the  existence 
of  a  Divine  Being. 

Quest. — Does  the  Scripture  any  where  affirm 
an  election  of  a  determinate  nun)ber  of  men  to 
eternal  life  and  happiness  ? 

Atis. — We  cannot  he  satisfied,  by  any  of  those 
Scriptures  which  are  brought  for  that  purpose, 
that  there  is  any  such  election  of  a  determinate 
number  as  either  puts  a  force  on  their  creatures, 
and  irresistibly  saves  them,  or  absolutely  excludes 
all  the  rest  of  mankind  from  salvation.  The 


DIVINITY. 

chief  texts  commonly  brought  in  favour  of  that 
opinion  are  the  following:  Acts  xiii.48.  As  many 
as  were  ordained  to  eternal  life  believed.  But 
Grotius  and  Hammond,  Mr.  Mede,  and  others, 
seem  to  make  it  pretty  clear  that  the  original 
word,  trdus\3.ted  ordained,  signifies  no  more  than 
disciplined,  listed  in  the  number  of  those  who 
seek  eternal  life;  being  a  military  word^  and  so 
used  by  good  authors;  and  accordingly,  St.  Chry- 
sostom,  as  he  is  quoted  by  Dr.  Hammond,  so 
interprets  the  place.       Separated  to  God,  de- 
voted, addicted,  prepared,  or  disposed  to  eternal 
life."    Another  place  most  frequently  urged,  and 
which  seems  most  favourable  to  this  opinion,  is 
that,  Eph.  i.  4.  As  he  hath  chosen  us  in  him  he- 
fore  the  foundation  of  the  world.    By  the  word 
election,"  says  Grotius,     is  here  meant  vocation 
by  the  Gospel ;  as,  on  the  contrary.  Vocation  is 
sometimes  taken  for  Election  :  1  Cor.  i.  24.  To 
them  that  are  called,  both  Jew  and  Gentile, 
Christ,  the  power  of  God,  8^c.    Nor  does  the 
word  Election  improperly  signify  the  great  be- 
nefits reserved  for  those  who  were  to  live  in  the 
time  of  the  Messiah,  as  the  word  is  taken,  1  Thess. 
iv.  1  ;  not  that  hereby  is  understood  the  actual 
calling  of  the  Jews  and  Gentiles,  but  the  decree 
for  their  calling.    We  add,  that  there  is  no  doubt 
but  whosoever  are  saved  receive  so  great  a  be- 
nefit, not  through  their  own  merits,  but  God*s 
niercy  in  Jesus,  to  whom  all  his  works  were 


S14 


IME   ATHENIAN  OrtACLK. 


known  from  the  foundation  of  the  world  ;  that  is, 
from  all  eternity  ;  but  yet  we  think  there  is  no 
one  place  in  the  Holy  Scripture,  which  proves 
that  so  many  men,  and  no  more,  were  irresistibly 
determined  to  eserlasting  salvation. 

Quest,  — Why  is  the  sense  of  approaching 
death  so  alarming  to  some,  and  yet  not  at  all  for- 
midable to  others  ?  and  which  is  the  noblest, 
which  the  easiest  death  ? 

Ans, — it  is  alarming,  not  only  to  some,  but  to 
all— naturally,  from  that  reluctance  and  horror, 
arising  from  the  apprehension  of  approaching 
dissolution,  which  we  see  even  in  creatures  that 
want  reason,  from  an  instinct  fixed  in  their  na- 
tures for  the  preservation  of  their  beings;  but 
this  is  heightened  in  rational  ^creatures,  by  a 
further  consideration  of  hereafter,  and  the  fear  of 
something  still  behind  that  is  worse  than  death: 
both  which  fears  are  conquered,  at  least  relieved, 
in  others,  either  by  a  custom  of  facing  death,  or 
by  a  very  pious  or  desperately  profligate  life. — The 
noblest  death,  undoubtedly,  is  dying  for  Religion  ; 
next  to  that,  for  our  Country,  let  the  manner  be 
what  it  will  in  either.  The  easiest  death  is  at  the 
mouth  of  a  cannon,  where,  in  the  hundredth  part 
of  a  minute,  a  man  is  mounted  up  to  immortality* 

Qw^a/. -—Whether  the  Pentateuch  was  written 
by  M  OSes  ? 


• 


DIVINITY. 


«15 


Arts. — We  prove  that  these  five  books  were 
really  written  by  Moses;  1st.  from  the  universal 
traditional  testimony,  both  of  Jews,  Christians, 
and  Heathens,  much  more  than  we  have  for 
Homer's,  Pindar's,  VirgiPs,  or  Confucius's  works, 
which  from  a  single,  narrow,  national  tradition, 
we  so  firmly  believe  to  be  theirs  whose  names 
they  bear,  that  a  man  would  deserve  no  other 
answer  but  laughter,  who  afilrmed  the  contrary. 
The  Jews  and  Christians  will  not  dispute  it. 
The  ancient,  very  ancient  Heathens,  affirm  as 
much.  Orpheus  himself,  or  if  not  he,  one  al- 
lowedly very  ancient  author,  mentions  him,  his 
works,  his  very  name,  as  clearly  as  it  could  be 
expressed  in  Greek,  and  that  as  a  Lawgiver  ;  and 
quotes  out  of  him  the  same  things  we  now  find  in 
the  writings  which  bear  his  name. 

But  we  have  infinitely  a  more  sure  word  of 
Prophecy and  are  able  to  demonstrate  in  this 
case,  as  well  as  several  others,  that  those  who 
deny  Moses  must  deny  Our  Saviour,  for  it  is  he 
who  expressly  and  frequently  appeals  to  the  books 
of  Moses,  the  Canon  being  long  before  that  time 
fixed  as  it  is  now.  Thei/  have  Moses  and  the 
Prophets,  say  Our  Saviour.  Again,  in  another 
place,  IVhat  did  Moses  command?  Why  was 
this  asked,  if  not  unanswerable.  So  St.  Luke, 
xxiv.  27,  Beghnring  at  Moses  and  all  the  Pro- 
phets;  and  St.  Mark,  xii.  26.  Have  ye  not  read 
in  the  book  of  MoseSy  how  in  the  bush  God  spake 


216 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


unto  him.  Further,  we  are  able  to  prove  three 
of  those  books  at  least  quoted.  As  his  Exodus  is 
called  the  Book  of  Moses  in  the  place  just  men- 
tioned; and  again  in  Heb.  ix.  19,  Leviticus  is 
said  to  be  the  writing  of  Moses  ;  Romans,  v. 
Deuteronomy  in  the  viith  of  the  Acts,  and  the 
27th  ;  or,  what  is  equivalent,  texts  are  taken  from 
thence,  whereof  Moses  is  affirmed  to  be  the 
author. 

The  objections  against  this  hypothesis  are,  the 
several  passages  in  these  writings,  which,  it  is 
said,  agree  not  to  the  time  of  Moses  ;  in  the  chief 
are  these  following: — Gen.  xiii.  7;  "And  the 
Canaanite  and  the  Perizzite  dwelled  then  in  the 
land whence  it  is  argued,  they  dwelt  not  there, 
now,  when  this  was  written  ;  and  therefore  the 
book  of  Genesis  was  composed  after  the  Canaa- 
nites  were  expelled.  Of  the  same  nature  is  that  ex- 
pression unto  this  day ;  for,  say  the  objectors,  were 
not  the  time  wherein  those  things  were  transacted 
long  passed,  it  were  not  proper  for  the  historian 
to  say  things  continued  in  such  or  such  a  state 
to  this  day.  Another  argument  is,  Moses,  speak- 
ing of  himself  as  a  third  person,  commending, 
discommending,  &c.  which  they  think  he  would 
not  have  done,  had  he  wrote  himself ;  another, 
the  naming  of  places,  particularly  Dan,  which 
was  not  so  called  till  many  ages  after  ;  another, 
the  death  of  Moses  being  described  in  the  last 
chapter ;  and  lastly,  the  coherence  and  connec- 


DIVINITY.  217 

tion  between  these  and  the  succeeding  books,  as 
far  as  Ezra.  And  thus  we  have  endeavoured 
fairly  to  represent  the  strength  of  their  objections  ; 
whereunto  we  give  the  following,  and,  we  hope, 
satisfactory  answers. 

And  first,  should  we  grant  that  the  high  priests 
or  scribes  in  every  agCj  having  the  keeping  of  the 
Sacred  Canon,  made  what  literal  or  verbal  addi- 
tions or  alterations  they  thought  fit,  to  render 
them  more  plain  and  intelligible  to  the  Church, 
for  whose  use  they  were  written :  this  would 
clear  all  the  controversy.  But  we  think  there  is 
no  need  of  making  use  of  this  general  shield, 
while  we  are  able  to  put  by  every  particular  stroke 
which  has  been  made  at  the  antiquity  of  these 
books.  The  first  is,  "  the  Canaanite  and  the  Periz- 
zite  were  then  in  the  land  whence  they  would 
argue,  they  were  not  so  at  the  writing  the  his- 
tory :  but  we  deny  that  to  be  a  fair  way  of  rea- 
soning ;  the  particle  then  relating  not  always  to 
ti7ne  present^  but  sometimes  to  the  time  past, 
and  that  as  properly  as  the  other.  Thus  we  may 
say,  supposing,  in  the  time  of  William  Rufus, 
the  Normans  were  then  in  the  land,  referring^to 
their  not  having  been  so  before,  or  of  such  or  such 
a  year  before  passed.  Supposing  one  had  lived  in 
166*5,  the  plague  was  then  in  the  city,  not  at  all 
affirming  it  not  there  when  we  spoke  it.  Now, 
we  found  good  reason  for  this  expression,  tJie 
Canaanite  was  then  in  the  land,  Gen.  xii.  8. 


2l8 


THE   ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


because  of  what  follows,  the  Lord  said,  unto  thy 
seed  will  I  give  this  land;  it  being  a  commenda- 
tion of  the  faith  of  Abraham,  that  he  beheved 
what  was  promised,  when  there  appeared  so  little 
likelihood  thereof.  Again,  chap.  xiii.  ver.  7. 
There  was  a  strife  between  Ahraharns  and  Lofs 
herdsmen,  and  the  Caiiaanite  dwelled  then  in 
the  land.  The  inconvenience  and  scandal  of  their 
strife  being  insinuated,  when  they  were  among 
such  ill  neighbours  ;  for  which  reason  too,  Abra- 
ham might  urge  concord  between  them^  and 
says :  Let  there  he  no  strife,  for  we  are  brethren. 
The  second  expression,  mito  this  day,  signifies 
an  undetermined  space  of  time,  more  or  less,  and 
may  as  fairly  be  applied  to  a  short  time  as  a  long 
one.  Thus  it  is  said  of  Rahab  the  harlot,  She 
herself,  not  her  family,  she  dwelleth  in  Israel 
unto  this  day,  Josh.  vi.  :25,  which  therefore  could 
not  be  long  after  the  time  wherein  the  thing 
happened. 

As  for  Moses  speaking  of  himself  in  the 
third  person,  so  does  St.  John  and  many  other 
writers,  nothing  being  more  common.  As  for  his 
commending,  dispraising  himself,  &c.  it  argues 
the  authority,  simplicity,  and  impartiality  of  his 
writings.  As  for  his  naming  places  as  they  were 
long  after  called,  we  may  without  violence  affirm 
it  prophetical  prolepsis;  for  why  may  not  names 
of  places,  as  well  as  things,  be  spoken  of  by  pro- 
phecy, to  make  the  thing  prophesied  more  un- 


DIVINITY. 

questionable,  when  it  begins  to  be  fulfilled  ?  as 
Cyrus  and  others.  For  the  addition  of  a  few 
lines  at  the  latter  end  of  Deuteronomy,  giving 
an  account  of  his  death,  that  indeed  might  be 
added  by  succeeding  governors,  Joshua  or  Elea- 
zar,  as  a  postscript,  though  the  rest  all  his  own 
writing. 

But  then  they  argue,  from  the  connexion  and 
coherence  between  the  different  books,  both  these 
five  and  the  succeeding,  that  they  were  all  the 
work  of  one  hand  ;  which  leads  to  the  examina- 
tion of  the  hypothesis  which  they  advance  in- 
stead of  the  old  one,  namely,  at  the  destruction 
of  the  Temple,  all  the  copies  of  the  Holy  Books 
were  burnt ;  when  (says  the  Apocrypha)  Esdras, 
or  Ezra,  by  the  strength  of  memory,  recovered 
them  again,  word  for  word  ;  say  the  objectors, 
he,  out  of  all  the  sacred  books,  composed  what 
we  have  now,  giving  the  first  five  the  name  of 
Moses,  to  gain  them  the  higher  authority,  and 
adding  the  rest  as  he  thought  fit.  But  neither 
can  this  hold ;  because  this  story  of  Ezra  is  all 
apocryphal;  and  much  more  what  they  build 
upon  it,  because  there  were  several  copies  of 
those  books  written  out  for  the  King,  and  pro- 
bably too  for  the  Levites  and  expounders  of  the 
Law,  in  their  cities  and  synagogues  ;  because  the 
book  of  Moses  is  mentioned  expressly,  both  in 
the  Chronicles,  Ezra,  and  Nehemiah;  because  we 
find  in  the  Writers  after  their  captivity  several 


« 


220  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

Chaidee  words,  and  almost  whole  chapters,  but 
not  so  in  the  Pentateuch,  &c. ;  because  the  Sa- 
maritans had,  and  still  have,  the  Pentateuch, 
though  they  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  Jews 
after  their  captivity.  Lastly,  because  the  ark  of 
God  is  described  in  some  of  those  books^  namely, 
.2  Chron.  v.  9.  as  then,  when  the  book  was  writ- 
ten, continuing  in  the  same  posture  as  it  was 
when  removed  by  Solomon.  "They  drew  out  the 
staves  of  the  ark,  and  there  they  are  unto  this 
day :  but  neither  staves  nor  ark,  as  it  is  noto- 
riously known,  continued  under  the  second  tem- 
ple ;  and,  as  for  the  corrections,  they  might  be 
made  as  the  postscript  of  Deuteronomy,  before 
mentioned. 


221 


PART  III. 


(2UESTIOiNS  AND  ANSWERS 

ON 

LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE. 


Quest. — What  is  Love  ? 

yJns. — It  is  very  much  like  light  —  a  thing 
that  every  body  knows,  and  which  none  can  well 
explain.  It  is  not  money,  fortune,  jointure, 
raving,  stabbing,  hanging,  romancing,  flouncing, 
swearing,  romping,  desiring,  fighting,  dying, 
though  all  those  have  been,  are,  and  will  con- 
tinue to  be,  mistaken  and  miscalled  for  it.  It  is 
a  pretty  little  soft  thing,  that  plays  about  the 
heart }  and  those  who  have  it  will  know  it  well 
enough  by  this  description.  It  is  extremely  like 
a  sigh;  and  could  we  find  a  painter  that  could 
draw  one,  you  would  easily  mistake  it  for  the 
other.  It  is  all  over  eyes  ;  so  far  is  it  from  being 
blind,  as  some  old  dotards  have  described  it,  who 


22« 


THE  ATIJENIAN  ORACLE, 


certainly  were  blind  themselves.  It  has  a  mouth 
too,  and  a  pair  of  pretty  hands ;  but  yet  the 
hands  speak,  and  you  may  fee]  at  a  distance  every 
word  that  comes  from  the  mouth  gently  stealing 
through  your  very  soul.  But  we  dare  not  make 
any  further  inquiries,  lest  we  should  raise  a  spirit 
too  powerful  for  all  our  art  to  lay  again. 

Quest. — Why  Love  generally  turns  to  coldnes* 
and  neglect  after  marriage  ? 

Ans. — Had  the  question  been  proposed  uni- 
versally, as  if  it  always  had  done  so,  we  must 
have  denied  it,  since  we  have  in  our  knowledge 
instances  of  some  persons  who  have  their  flames 
and  raptures,  and  all  that,  as  Hudibras  calls  it, 
as  much  after  the  noosing  as  before  ;  and,  to  say 
truth,  those  who  are  so  are  in  so  fine  a  dream, 
that  it  were  both  a  pity  and  a  cruelty  to  wake 
them.  But  the  question  is  very  cautiously  and 
prudently  put — Why  Love  generally  turns  to  cold- 
ness ?  In  which  sense  it  is  undeniably  true,  and 
the  reason  thereof  we  shall  attempt  to  give. — 
Variety  has  a  strange  charm  in  it,  and  satiety 
commonly  causes  loathing;  and  even  manna, 
every  day,  would  make  us  weary  of  it.  But  this 
variety  may  be  obtained,  this  satiety  may  be 
cured,  where  there  is  at  first  a  virtuous  love, 
grounded  on  sympathy  and  similitude;  where 
there  are  besides  wit  and  discretion  ;  all  which 
have  cliarms  that  never  can  be  exhausted.  Dis- 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  S23 

cretion  hides  those  faults  which  are  generally 
discovered  after  marriage,  or  by  degrees  removes 
them  ;  if  not,  virtuous  Love  excuses,  or  at  least 
balances  them,  and  wit  has  always  something 
entertaining  and  new ;  that  is  the  salt  and  spirit 
which  keeps  the  sweets  of  matrimony  from  grow- 
ing vapid,  dull,  and  disagreeable.  If  it  is  very 
seldom  all  these  qualifications  meet,  it  is  no  won- 
der that  the  first  order  as  seldom  continues  ;  but, 
where  these  are,  it  cannot  fail.  Thus  we  have 
not  only  shown  the  reason  of  this  coldness  and 
neglect,  so  very  common  after  marriage,  but 
also  the  manner  how  to  avoid  it. 


Quest, — What  are  the  best  remedies  for  Love, 
and  what  cure  is  there  for  a  desperate  love  ? 

Ans. — ^There  is  a  story  of  a  monk,  that  was 
so  desperately  in  love  with  a  barber's  daughter, 
who  lived  near  his  monasterv,  as  to  make  him 
absolutely  unfit  for  any  business.  His  abbot  had 
a  great  kindness  for  him  ;  and,  finding  arguments 
useless,  very  carefully  and  fatherly  ordered  the 
two  Lovers  to  be  shut  up  together  in  a  close  room, 
and  no  one  to  come  near  them,  and  their  pro- 
visions to  be  put  in  at  a  small  wicket  every  day. 
The  monk,  for  the  first  week,  thought  himself 
in  paradise;  the  second  it  was  pretty  well;  but 
the  third  in  purgatory  ;  the  fourth,  in  hell  itself; 
begging  at  the  wicket,  of  all  love?,  that  the  abbot 
would  let  him  out  again,  though, he  were  to  live 


224 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


on  nothing  but  bread  and  water  ; — a  pleasant 
remedy  enough,  but  such  an  one  as  our  desperate 
lover  will  hardly  find  practicable.  We  therefore 
advise  him  to  a  long  absence,  hard  labour,  work 
it  out ;  for  some  say  it  is  a  lazy  disease.  Or,  if  this 
suit  not  with  their  circumstances,  let  them  affront 
the  person  loved,  and  thereby  get  themselves 
more  absolutely  scorned  and  hated;  and  if  that 
do  not  answer,  they  almost  deserve  no  other  but 
a  hempen  remedy. 

Quest. — Where  is  the  likeliest  place  to  get  a 
husband  in  ? 

Am. — Poor  distressed  lady!  had  we  but  her 
name,  we  should  be  induced  to  insert  an  adver- 
tisement for  her  in  this  book.  But,  since  she  has 
left  us  in  the  dark,  she  must  be  contented  with 
the  best  directions  we  can  give  her  in  this  weighty 
matter.  We  answer,  then,  that  it  is  the  likehest 
place  to  get  a  Lover  where  there  are  fewest  Wo- 
men ;  and  accordingly,  if  she  will  venture  to  ship 
herself  for  some  of  the  Plantations  by  the  next 
fleet,  if  she  is  at  all  marketable,  ten  to  one  but 
one  or  other  will  save  her  longinsT. 


Quest. — Is  absence  best  for  Love  ? 

Jns. — Not  in  the  beginning  of  an  amour,  but 
when  it  is  confirmed  and  settled.  It  is  dangerous 
at  first,  because  it  gives  a  Rival  opportunity  to 
make  addresses;  and  it  is  in  loving  as  it  is  in 
racing — where,  if  once  a  horse  get  the  start,  it  is 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGBy  225 

not  SO  easily  recovered.  But  when  the  main 
dispute  is  once  over,  and  the  heart  fairly  won, 
the  case  is  much  altered ;  then,  perhaps,  being 
always  present  is  one  of  the  most  dangerous, 
though  desired,  things  that  can  befall  a  lover.  As 
acquaintance  grows  more  intimate,  our  lovers  are 
still  less  upon  their  guard ;  they  do  not  show  their 
best  side  to  one  another  as  at  first.  Faults  will 
daily  be  found,  unlucky  accidents  will  fall  out, 
such  things  will  be  discovered  as  would  never 
iiave  been  suspected  nor  believed ;  a  thousand  lit- 
tle quarrels  and  piques  will  arise,  which  at  least 
produce  vexation,  oftentimes  a  final  parting.  But 
in  absence  it  is  quite  the  reverse  ;  we  willingly 
forget  the  faults  of  those  we  love,  and  magnify 
their  excellencies  ;  we  embrace  and  cherish  their 
dear  ideas  and  memories  ;  we  are  daily  expecting 
and  wishing  to  hear  from  them  ;  and  if  we  hear, 
especially  by  letters,  our  love  is  extremely  in- 
creased by  those  little  subtle  messengers  :  there  is 
all  the  soul,  and  more,  to  be  seen  in  them.  We 
say  therein  whatever  we  please,  without  being 
put  to  the  trouble  of  a  suitable  repartee,  or  seek- 
ing for  a  kind,  and  yet  discreet  answer.  All  our 
thoughts  are  there  exhibited  at  the  best  advan- 
tage, and  we  may  give  them  just  what  turn  we 
please.  The  man  may  write  with  as  much  pas- 
sion as  he  pleases  ;  he  may  set  his  adorable  before 
him,  dressed  m  as  many  beauties  as  his  fancy  can 
form,  without  having  the  original  present  to  con- 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE* 


fute  him  ;  and  write  according  to  the  new-found 
excellence  of  his  ideal  mistress,  and  bring  in  all 
the  fine  things  he  thinks  of.  The  lady  may, 
with  all  the  caution  she  pleases,  answer  him 
again,  and  let  as  much  love  as  she  will  look  out 
through  her  prudence ;  make  what  promises  she 
pleases,  yet  with  such  restrictions  and  modifica^- 
tions  as  shall  bind  her  no  more  than  ropes  of 
sand.  And  when  they  come  once  to  meet  again, 
there  is  such  ado,  with  transports,  raptures,  and 
the  rest,  that,  in  a  word,  we  dare  think  no  longer 
of  it. 


Quest,  —  Whether  it  be  lawful  for  a  young 
lady  to  pray  for  a  husband;  and,  if  lawful,  in 
what  form  ? 

Ans. — He  must  renounce  humanity  that  would 
not  make  it  as  immortal  as  possible,  which  is 
only  effected  by  Marriage,  whereby  we  survive 
in  our  children.  Misery,  without  a  friend  to 
bear  a  part,  is  very  afflicting;  and  happiness, 
without  communication,  is  tedious.  We  should 
be  a  vagrant  sort  of  animal  without  Marriage,  as 
if  Nature  were  ashamed  of  our  converse.  We 
should  contribute  to  the  destruction  of  states, 
condemn  the  wisdom  of  the  first  institutor,  and 
censure  the  edicts  of  such  commonwealths,  who, 
upon  very  good  grounds,  have  discountenanced 
and  punished  celibacy.  Nay,  supposing  all  the 
miseries  that  marriage-haters  suggest  should  fall 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  SiJ 

upon  US,  it  is  our  own  fault,  if,  with  Socrates,  we 
do  not  learn  more  by  a  scolding  wife  than  by  all  the 
precepts  of  philosophers. — ^Now,  if  it  be  lawful  to 
marry,  it  is  lawful  for  ladies  to  pray  for  good  hus- 
bands, if  they  find  their  inclinations,  concerns  in  the 
world,  or  other  motives,  which  they  are  to  be 
judges  oi]  consistent  with  the  ends  of  such  so- 
ciety. As  to  the  form  of  prayer  required,  they 
may,  if  they  please,  use  the  following,  if  they  are 
not  better  furnished  already  ; 

"  From  a  profane  libertine,  from  one  affectedly 
pious,  from  one  of  a  starched  gravity,  or  of  ridi- 
culous levity,  from  an  ecstasied  poet,  from  a  mo- 
dern wit,  from  a  base  covvard,  and  a  rash  fool ; 
from  a  Venus  darling,  from  a  Bacchus  proselyte, 
from  a  domestic  animal,  save  me. 

"Give  me  one  whose  love  has  more  of  judgment 
than  passion,  who  is  master  of  himself,  who  has 
an  equal  flame,  a  parallel  inclination,  a  temper 
and  soul  so  like  mine,  that,  as  two  tallies,  we 
may  appear  more  perfect  by  union ! 

Give  me  one  of  a  genteel  education,  with  an 
indifferent  fortune,  rather  independant  of  the 
servile  fate  of  palaces,  and  yet  one  whose  retire- 
ment is  not  so  much  from  the  publick  as  into  him- 
self; one  above  flattery  and  aflFront,  and  yet  as 
careful  in  preventing  the  injury  as  able  to  repair 
it ;  one,  the  beauty  of  v^hose  mind  should  exceed 
that  of  his  face,  yet  not  deformed  so  as  to  be  dis- 
tinguishable from  others  even  into  ridicule  ! 


«:*8  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

"  Give  me  one  that  has  learned  to  Hve  much  in 
a  little  time  ;  one  that  is  no  great  familiar  in  con* 
verse  with  the  world,  nor  no  little  one  with  him- 
self; who,  with  these  uncommon  endowments  of 
mind,  may  have  a  sweet,  mild,  easy  disposition ; 
but,  as  the  master-perfection,  let  him  be  truly  vir* 
tuous  and  good  !" 

Quest. — Whether  it  is  better  to  live  single,  or 
to  marry? 

Ans, — Marriage  is  all  in  the  extremes,  nothing 
moderate  in  it;  it  is  either  accompanied  with 
hatred  and  bitterness,  or  full  of  sweetness  and 
affection  ;  it  is  either  a  paradise,  or  a  hell.  It  is 
never  the  latter  from  its  own  nature;  but  from  the 
fault  of  the  persons,  who  know  not  how  to  use  it 
as  they  ought.  Persons  are  generally  so  happy 
in  it,  that  they  would  not  leave  it  if  they  might 
have  their  choice.  When  the  Emperor  Conrade 
the  Third  besieged  Guedelphus  Duke  of  Bavaria 
in  the  city  of  Wensburg  in  Germany,  the  wo- 
men, perceiving  that  the  town  could  not  possibly 
hold  out  long,  petitioned  the  Emperor  that  they 
might  depart  only  with  so  much  as  each  of  them 
could  carry  on  their  backs ;  which  the  Emperor 
consented  to,  expecting  they  would  have  loaded 
themselves  with  silver  and  gold,  &c. ;  but  they  all 
came  forth,  every  one  with  her  husband  upon  her 
back ;  at  which  the  Emperor  was  so  moved,  that 
be  wept,  received  the  Duke  into  his  favour,  gave 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE. 

all  the  men  their  lives,  and  extolled  the  women 
with  deserved  praises. — There  needs  not  a  greater 
instance  of  there  being  something  in  marriage 
beyond  any  other  enjoyment  in  the  world :  but 
let  the  ladies  judge,  since  their  own  sex  were  par- 
ties concerned  in  this  affair. 


Quest, — Whether  fruition  diminishes  love  ? 

Ans,  —  If  the  love  terminates  upon  the  senses, 
and  fixes  not  upon  the  soul,  human  weakness  is 
soon  weary,  and  inclined  to  change;  and  fami- 
liarity breeds  contempt.  But  such  a  love  as  cen- 
ters upon  virtue,  modesty,  and  mental  endow- 
ments, cannot  be  cloyed,  because  it  is  always 
increasing,  and  the  mind  always  as  active.  To 
question  whether  we  love  such  a  subject  when 
we  possess  it,  is  to  ask  whether  love  be  love ;  — 
passion  before  enjoyment  is  desire,  but  possession 
alone  is  capable  of  producing  true  love.  Now,  the 
perfection  of  any  thing  must  be  its  completion,  and 
not  destruction ;  friendship  is  by  acts  increased; 
and  no  doubt  but,  if  there  was  occasion,  there 
might  be  found  many  married  persons  that  would 
not  hesitate  to  imitate  the  noble  contention  of 
Gracchus  and  Cornelia,  by  choosing  to  die  for 
one  another. 

Question. — Why  men  obliged  do  still  fresh  loves  pursue. 
While  those  denied  are  generally  true  ? 

Answer*  By  wind  and  water  sparks  and  flames  arise. 

While  soon  the  quiet  flame  in  ashes  dies. 


230 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


Question  (From  the  Ladies). — 

How  Love  to  all  our  hearts  the  way  can  find^ 
When  he  himself,  vain  deity,  is  blind  ? 

Answer.  Unless  ourselves  we  yield,  he  can't  command  5 

He  finds  the  way  because  we  guide  his  hand. 


1. 

Question. — Say,  if  your  studies  can  devise. 

Or  what  new  methods  can  you  find. 
That  men,  made  up  of  oaths  and  lies. 
May  yet  be  charm'd  by  womankind  ? 
2. 

Or,  since  the  task  so  hard  does  prove. 
What  is 't  that  our  poor  sex  must  do. 

While,  though  we  would  declare  our  love, 
'Tis  yet  too  dangerous  to  woo  ? 
3. 

If  we  surrender  soon  our  hearts. 

Those  easy  conquests  soon  disdain. 
Yet  rail  at  all  our  female  arts. 

And  swear  that  maids  should  never  feign. 
4. 

How  wretched  then  is  virgin  youth. 

Which  neither  path  can  safely  try. 
Since  Scorn  attends  on  speaking  truth. 

And  Virtue  yet  forbids  to  lie  ! 
1. 

Answer.  A  brave  resistance  gives  renown,  / 

While  easy  conquests  all  disdain  > 
The  longer  you  defend  the  town. 
The  greater  honour  still  you  gain. 
2. 

Nor  ever  was 't  esteem'd  disgrace. 
When  there 's  no  succour  in  the  field. 

Although  you  '11  not  betray  the  place, 
pn  honourable  terms  tp  yield. 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE. 


3. 

That  weak  within,  you  need  not  own 
To  those  who  eagerly  pursue ; 

Nor  are  without,  our  forces  known. 
But  you  cheat  us,  and  we  cheat  you. 

4. 

From  questions  by  ensnaring  youth 
Proposed,  your  wit  must  set  you  free  ; 

You  need  not  tell  us  all  the  truth,  — 
You  're  on  your  oaths  no  more  than  we. 


Quest, — I  have  promised  Marriage  against  the 
consent  of  my  friends ;  which  they  suspecting 
have  resolved  to  marry  me  to  another,  for  whom 
I  have  a  great  aversion  :  —  how  am  I  to  behave 
myself  in  this  difficult  affair  ? 

Ans, — ^The  resolving  of  two  questions  will  clear 
all  the  difficulty  in  this  affair.  Whether  a  pro- 
mise of  marriage  is  binding  when  made  against 
the  consent  of  friends  ?  and,  Whether  friends 
have  any  power  to  force  consent  to  marriage  ? 
For  the  first,  if  the  person  be  of  years  of  discre- 
tion, the  promise  is  really  binding,  so  as  never 
to  marry  any  other,  but  to  marry  that  person  as 
soon  as  all  obstructions  are  removed  ;  but  the 
want  of  parents'  consent  is  a  very  just  obstruction 
as  long  as  they  live,  though  not  any  longer,  for 
they  have  no  power  to  disannul  any  such  contract 
or  promise,  when  once  actually  and  solemnly 
made. 


:^32  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

With  respect  to  the  second  question,  so  far  as 
children  are  under  government,  and  not  at  their 
own  disposal,  they  undoubtedly  sin  in  making 
such  promises,  and  cannot  perform  them  till  their 
parents'  consent,  or  death,  gives  them  liberty. 
But  so  far  as  they  are  free  and  rational  creatures, 
they  have  a  power  of  disposing  of  themselves  ;  for 
so  much  power  no  parent  himself,  unless  a  tyrant, 
can  deny  them.  Children  are  neither  cattle  nor 
slaves  ;  they  have  therefore  at  least  a  negative 
voice,  even  where  there  was  no  prior  obligation, 
much  more  where  there  is ;  though,  supposing 
there  were  none,  they  ought  to  submit  to  their 
parents'  choice,  unless  where  it  is  a  plain  case 
that  it  would  make  them  miserable.  The  positive 
promise  in  this  case  was  unlawful,  nor  is  it  to  be 
actually  performed  without  the  parents'  consent  or 
death  ;  yet  the  parent  has  no  power  to  annul  this 
promise,  much  less  to  force  their  child  to  marry 
any  other. 

Quest, — A  lady  with  a  good  fortune  has  a  mind 
to  marry;  but  is  unwilling  to  have  either  a  fool, 
a  fop,  or  a  beau,  a  cotquean,  a  book-learned  sot, 
or  one  they  call  a  sober  honest  man  —  such  an 
one,  I  mean,  as  goes  plodding  about  all  day,  mind- 
ing only  the  main  chance  —  in  the  evening,  for 
his  diversion,  drinks  his  pint,  or  smokes  some 
hours  in  a  tavern  with  company  that  pleases  him, 
comes  home  and  grumbles  at  his  wife  if  the  day's 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  233 

expences  have  been  a  halfpenny  extraordinary — 
that  will  buy  his  v^^ife  some  good  clothes  to  go 
abroad  with  him  on  holidays,  or  to  a  neighbour  s 
christening;  hardly  else  allowing  her  to  stir;  and 
sometimes  gives  her  half-a-crovvn  in  her  pocket, 
of  which  she  must  render  an  exact  account.  I 
now  say,  a  woman  being  to  make  her  choice, 
which  of  these,  think  you,  is  the  least  evil?  and,  if 
she  likes  none  of  them,  what  sort  of  a  husband 
must  she  choose  ? 

Ans, — The  lady  is  a  little  difficult;  and  seems 
not  in  haste  to  be  married,  if  she  stays  till  a  hus- 
band offers  that  is  not  touched  with  any  of  the 
characters  she  has  given. 

Let  us  compare  these  fine  rivals,  and  see  which 
of  them  best  deserves  the  honour  of  a  lady's  love. 
For  the  first,  a  Fool,  whom  for  the  present  we  will 
suppose  distinguished  from  his  near  kindred  that 
follow,  fop,  beau,  &c.  Some  of  the  fair  sex 
would  make  choice  of  a  fool  that  they  might  go- 
vern, as  the  fool  husband  would  have  no  brains 
for  the  task.  But  one  should  think  a  preposte- 
rous desire  of  domination  would  hardly  outweigh 
the  inconvenience  of  his  nauseous  folly ;  besides 
that,  sometimes  the  lady  may  be  mistaken  ;  for 
some  fools  are  certainly  the  most  unmanageable 
beasts  in  nature,  and  a  wise  woman  will  not  de- 
sire to  have  more  of  her  own  will  than  a  wise  man 
would  permit  her. — Exit  Fool, 

Now  for  Fop,  who  only  thinks  a  little  better  of 


234  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

himself  than  his  elder  brother,  though  of  the 
self-same  family;  he  has  as  httle  wit,  though  more 
noise ;  he  is  not  so  heavy  as  his  brother,  and  is 
hardly  so  much  fool  as  madman  —  a  dancing, 
singing,  empty  creature,  and  may  make  an  indif- 
ferent plaything,  but  a  bad  husband,  unless  you 
intend  to  share  him  with  all  the  kind  souls  in  the 
nation. — The  Beau  is  only  a  Fop  of  the  last  edi- 
tion, a  very  fortune-hunter,  and  therefore  the 
ladies  must  look  to  themselves,  for  he  aims  as 
sharply  at  all  the  young,  as  the  crazy  King  of  Por- 
tugal used  to  do  at  the  old  women,  and  hopes  as 
surely  to  fetch  them  down  with  his  heart-breakers 
as  the  other  with  his  blunderbuss.  He  is  in  love 
with  his  clothes  as  much  as  the  Fop  with  himself ; 
he  is  all  garniture.  Could  a  lady  change  him  as 
oft  as  he  does  his  fashions,  it  would  be  a  little  safer 
venturing  upon  him  ;  but  she  may  have  him  a 
better  bargain  if  she  can  find  any  way  to  purchase 
his  clothes,  for  she  then  has  all  of  him,  or  at  least 
a  more  essential  part  than  either  his  soul  or  body. — 
For  a  Cotquean,  it  is  an  awkward  sort  of  a  creature 
too  to  make  a  husband  of ;  but  the  best  is,  he  will 
be  niore  troublesome  to  the  maids  in  the  kitchen 
than  to  you ;  and  besides,  you  will  be  sure  to 
have  him  much  at  home ;  for  this  two-legged  turn- 
spit, exactly  contrary  to  his  brother  brute,  cannot 
endure  to  be  out  of  the  way  when  the  cook  has 
any  business. — For  a  Book-learned  Sot,  the  truth 
is^  it  is  very  hard  to  have  him  always  making  love 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  2S5 

to  his  books^  and  forget  his  own  flesh  and  blood  ; 
and  it  may  tempt  a  lady  sometimes  to  wish  herself 
a  book,  that  she  may  now  and  then  be  folded 
down,  or  turned  over ;  but,  for  the  most,  those 
wives  have  no  reason  to  complain,  for  they  have 
their  husbands  always  at  home,  safe  locked  up  as 
their  plate  or  jewels,  and  can  resort  to  them  for 
advice  as  often  as  there  is  occasion.    Lastly,  for 
the  sober  honest  man,  who  minds  the  main 
chance,  &c.  one  would  think  he  should  please; 
but  then  he  goes  plodding  about  all  day,  and 
drinks  his  pint  of  wine  at  the  tavern  in  the  even- 
ing ;  perhaps  too  stays  out  late  at  night ;  —  why, 
all  this  is  pretty  tolerable ;  nor  is  what  follows  very 
ill — buys  his  wife  good  clothes,  lets  her  go  abroad 
to  see  her  neighbours,  gives  her  a  little  money  to 
spend  ;  though,  if  she  has  but  wit  enough  to  pre- 
vent being  a  beggar,  if  she  has  a  good  fortune  she 
will  reserve  to  herself  so  much  when  she  gives  the 
rest  as  never  to  be  reduced  to  such  meanness  ; 
and,  if  the  man  can  afford  it,  he  will  give  her  a 
weekly  allowance  for  family  expences,  without 
either  requiring  or  undertaking  the  drudgery  of 
trifling  accounts.    However,  this  character  is  ea- 
sily distinguishable  from  the  rest;  and  we  suppose 
the  lady  means  by  it,  a  hum-drum,  brainless, 
wooden  fellow^r— a  mere  husband,  with  no  life,  nor 
spirit,   nor  conversation  —  in  a  word,  a  trading 
blockhead,  which  no  ingenuous  woman  would  be 
bound  apprentice  to  for  life  if  she  could  avoid  it. 


2S6  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

If  she  be  at  her  own  disposal,  it  is  almost  impossi- 
ble in  this  case  to  be  deceived  ;  for  the  man  de- 
scribed is  such  a  kind  of  thing  as  no  disguise  will 
conceal ;  he  must  shew  himself  when  he  puts  on 
his  holyday  suit,  and  steps  a-courting,  though 
leaving  word  whither  he  is  gone,  for  fear  of  a  cus- 
tomer ;  nor  can  he  so  much  as  ask  the  grand 
question  out  of  his  shopboard  phrase,  "  Madam, 
what  do  you  please  to  buy  ?"  However,  this  we 
think  more  tolerable  than  most  of  his  rivals.  The 
Fool  is  too  bad.  The  Fop,  the  Beau,  and  brisk 
careless  fellow,  will,  if  possible,  beggar  himself,  and 
you,  and  all  his  family.  The  Cotquean  is  more 
proper  for  a  scullion  than  a  husband.  This  plod- 
ding main-chance  fellow  you  speak  of  will  secure 
you  good  clothes,  and  one  of  the  highest  pews  in 
the  church,  while  he  lives ;  and,  if  he  happens  to 
drop  off,  leaves  you  another  chance,  and  your 
fortune  better  than  ever.  Nor  have  we  forgot 
him  that  we  left  plodding  in  his  study,  whom 
perhaps  sympathy  makes  us  inclined  to  vote  for 
before  all  the  rest.  He  is  no  fool,  though  he 
may  look  like  one ;  he  is  generally  sound  and  ho- 
nest— not  so  the  Fop  and  Beau  ;  he  plagues  you 
not  in  the  kitchen  like  Sir  Cot,  nor  calls  you 
coram  nobis  for  the  odd  farthings  in  buying  a  piece 
of  beef,  hke  your  lump  of  a  spark  behind  the 
counter;  but  lets  you  alone,  to  rule  and  order  his 
family,  buy  as  many  fine  clothes  as  you  please, 
and  do  what  you  like  best ;  and,  unless  you 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  237 

Want  atl  angel,  where  could  you  find  a  better  than 
a  virtuous  iover  of  learning  r 

Quest. — Being  lately  in  the  country,  I  fell  in 
the  company  of  two  sisters  of  equal  fortunes,  the 
elder  handsome,  and  of  a  sweet  temper,  the 
younger  a  perfect  beauty,  her  temper  but  so  so  ; 
however,  at  first  sight  she  quite  enfiamed  me,  but 
her  conversation  somewhat  cooled  the  fire  her 
eyes  had  kindled.  In  the  mean  time,  the  conver- 
sation of  the  other  absolutely  charmed  me.  I 
love  to  look  on  the  one  I  love,  to  discourse  with 
the  other.  In  this  state  of  divided  love  I  met 
with  a  third,  neither  fair  nor  good-natured,  but 
possessing  a  large  fortune.  Which  ought  I  to 
choose,  beauty,  or  good-humour,  or  tenfold  riches? 

A72S. — To  begin  with  the  beauty,  which  gene- 
rally attracts  soonest,  though  it  seldom  holds 
longest,  we  can  by  no  means  vote  for  her;  for,  if 
she  be  without  good-humour,  she  is  nothing  but 
a  gilded  bawble.  Beauty  soon  dies ;  a  fit  of  sick- 
ness, or  bearing  a  few  children,  soon  spoils  it, 
and,  though  it  does  well  before  marriage,  there 
are  but  few  who  admire  it  afterwards.  Besides, 
even  a  froward  temper,  if  there  is  nothing  else, 
soon  decays  it ;  for  a  face  that  is  often  used  to 
wear  voluntary  wrinkles  will  at  length  contract 
natural  ones  ;  and  a  sour  air  spoils  the  finest  face 
in  the  world.  A  man  courts  for  a  short  time,  but 
when  he  marries  he  is  fixed  for  life.    There  is  no 


!23S  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

remedy  for  a  man  that  has  a  scolding  wife,  except 
a  little  cotton  for  his  own  ears,  or  a  drum  for  hers^ 
Nor  is  the  rich  fool  much  more  ehgible.  It  is 
true,  were  the  fortune  to  be  had  without  the 
lawful  incumbrance,  or  were  it  lawful,  after  the 
honey-moon  was  over,  to  carry  her  down  for  a 
few  months  to  the  Fens  of  Lincolnshire,  or  the 
Hundreds  in  Essex,  there  might  be  something  to 
be  said  in  favour  of  it;  though  we  should  think  it 
as  hard  fortune,  were  it  our  own  case,  to  be  turned 
out  of  the  world  because  old  and  rich,  as  w^e  do 
that  the  poor  giants  in  romances  should  be  all 
knocked  on  the  head,  merely  because  they  were 
larger  and  stronger  than  other  men.  No,  better 
leave  her  and  all  her  luggage  at  a  safer  distance ; 
never  be  a  slave,  only  to  see  the  golden  fetters 
glitter.  If  she  is  deformed,  or  a  fool,  all  the  beau- 
tiful faces  she  has  in  her  bags  will  not  keep  her 
own  from  frightening  you  ;  she  will  soon  grow 
disagreeable;  for  a  fool  in  the  house  is  like  one  on 
the  stage — it  never  shews  well  twice.  She  with 
a  moderate  face  and  fortune,  and  very  good  hu- 
mour, is  the  girl;  there  being  many  inconvenien- 
ces in  uniting  with  the  other,  but  none  at  all,  or 
at  least  but  what  are  common,  in  venturing  on  the 
third,  the  elder  of  the  two  country  sisters. 

Quest. — Is  it  possible  to  love  so  well  after  mar- 
riage as  before  ?  and  if  it  be,  what  are  the  best 
means  of  preserving  so  great  a  happiness  ? 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  239 

Ans, — If  by  loving  as  well  be  meant  loving  with 
the  same  ardour  and  sensitive  pleasure  as  before, 
it  is  impossible.  But  though  in  this  sense  there 
are  not  many  love  so  well,  unless  after  long  absence, 
yet  undoubtedly  there  are  many  who  love  far  bet- 
ter in  another  sense,  in  that  love  which  has  less  of 
the  sense — and  more  of  the  soul  in  it.  This  love, 
like  wine,  grows  finer  and  more  spirituous  by  age; 
it  more  resembles  friendship.  Wherever  such 
persons  meet  as  are  possessed  of  many  noble  qua- 
lities, the  more  they  are  acquainted  the  more  they 
love. 

The  directions  how  to  preserve  so  great  a  hap- 
piness are — first,  to  love  those  who  have  something 
to  recommend  them  besides  beauty,  wit,  or  for- 
tune ;  any  of  which  alone  are  but  mean  compa- 
nions when  we  are  to  have  no  other  society  all 
our  lives.  To  all  these  let  good-humour  be  added; 
and  discretion,  virtue,  and  piety,  if  you  know 
where  to  find  them.  When  thus  met,  let  nothing 
but  death  part  you,  and  never  be  both  angry  at 
once.  But,  if  you  must  sometimes  fall  out,  be  sa 
wise  as  to  take  your  turns,  and,  when  it  is  over, 
learn  the  excellent  art  of  forgetfulness  ;  or,  if  you 
remember  any  thing,  let  it  be  each  for  yourselves, 
not,  as  is  common,  for  one  another.  And,  as  the 
crown  of  all,  let  your  love  be  in  one  sense  truly 
spiritual ;  not  only  love  the  body,  but  the  soul, 
that  you  may  never  part,  here  or  hereafter ! 


240 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


Quest.  —  I  am  a  married  man  ;  but,  having  a 
very  bad  wife,  have  been  parted  from  her  some 
years,  and  design  never  to  Hve  with  her  more. 
Now  I  desire  your  advice,  whether  I  may  pray  to 
God  to  take  her  to  himself,  that  I  may  endeavour 
to  make  myself  happy  in  another  mate  ? 

Ans, — Surely,  if  she  is  fit  for  Heaven  she  is  fi^ 
for  you ;  as,  if  she  were  as  good  while  you  Hved 
with  her  as  she  is  now,  how  came  you  to  part* 
But,  supposing  the  cause  were  sufficient,  and  she 
is  yet  no  better ;  it  would  yet  be  handsomer  to 
submit  to  God's  will,  and  wait  with  patience;  or 
rather  pray  for  her  improvement,  and  that  she 
may  not  be  taken  hence  till  she  is  prepared  for 
Heaven. 


Quest. — A  gentleman  having  been  formerly  in 
love,  and  disappointed,  offered  his  hand  to  ano- 
ther lady,  who  refuses  to  receive  him,  because  she 
thinks  it  not  possible  for  a  gentleman  who  has 
been  in  love  before  to  love  again  with  the  same 
ardour  and  affection  as  at  first. 

Ans. — The  lady  has  nothing  to  fear ;  the  ma- 
jority give  their  suffrage  in  the  affirmative.  This 
is  clear,  if  we  consider  how  often  some  are  mar- 
ried, how  many  have  been  disappointed  in  their 
affections,  either  by  parents'  compulsions,  their 
own  quarrels,  or  upon  second  or  more  advised 
thoughts,  and  yet,  after  all,  have  proved  happy 
instances  of  an  extraordinary  affection.    Nor  can 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE. 


241 


We  see  any  reason  to  the  contrary,  since  the  affec- 
tion terminates  not  so  much  in  the  person  as  in 
the  quahfications  of  those  who  are  loved  ;  it  is 
there  only  that  a  wise  man's  interest  is  secured.  I 
am  ready  to  confess,  sensual  love  hates  a  rival, 
and  perhaps  cannot  be  twice  passionately  fixed. 
But  the  soul  is  unconfined  and  free^  is  ignorant  of 
the  name  of  rival,  as  also  of  the  distinction  of 
sexes ;  it  fixes  and  removes,  as  unbiassed  and  so- 
ber reason  dictates.  Where  that  fixes,  and  is  se- 
cured, the  lesser,  I  mean  that  of  the  person,  always 
submits ;  at  least  so  far  as  is  necessary  for  an  easy 
and  comfortable  life.  An  agreeable  converse,  and 
union  of  soul,  never  cloy;  but  are  equally  vigorous 
in  youth  and  age,  and  in  all  states  and  conditions 
where  the  fear  of  God  resides. 


Quest,  —  A  gentleman  being  in  love  with  a 
young  lady,  and  having  disclosed  himself  to  her 
with  all  kindness,  she  slighted  him,  and  never 
would  own  she  had  any  respect  for  him  ;  on  which 
the  courtship  dropped :  now,  having  gained  the 
affection  of  another,  the  former  charges  him  with 
inconstancy.  It  is  required  to  know,  to  which  of 
them  he  should  cleave  ? 

Ans. — You  are  obliged  to  keep  to  the  last^, 
having  already  made  your  addresses  to  her,  and 
handsomely  retreated  from  the  first ;  though  we 
should  not  have  commended  your  haste,  but  that 
we  suppose  gratitude  might  have  a  little  influence 


242 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


on  you  ;  and  indeed  it  is  too  commonly  practised  to 
refuse  or  despise  a  fair  lady,  only  because  she 
loves  first. 


Quest, — A  young  man  having  married  a  young 
v/oman  who  was  well  descended,  but  her  fortune 
being  far  inferior  to  her  inward  endowments,  the 
marriage  was  disapproved  of  by  her  husband's 
relations ;  insomuch  that  they  leave  no  means 
unattempted  to  set  the  young  couple  at  variance; 
the  consequence  whereof,  it  is  feared,  will  prove 
destructive  to  each  other  s  happiness.  She,  being 
virtuously  inclined,  desires  advice  in  her  beha- 
viour towards  her  husband's  relations  in  such  a 
case  ? 

Atis. — ^This  is  so  common  an  error  in  parents, 
that  the  lady  cannot  much  wonder  at  it ;  and 
though  the  commonness  of  it  will  not  excuse  the 
wickedness  in  respect  to  them,  it  may  in  some 
degree  make  her  more  easy  under  it ;  and  it  is  not 
improbable  but,  in  time,  by  bearing  all  their  un- 
handsome reflections  without  seeming  to  resent 
them,  and  respecting  them  as  the  relations  of  her 
husband,  she  may  convince  them  that  such  a 
good  and  prudent  wife  is  a  much  more  suitable 
match  to  one  that  can  maintain  her,  than  a  golden 
one  without  these  qualities.  Yet,  should  this 
produce  not  the  wished-for  efl^ect,  it  will  not  miss 
of  its  reward ;  since  it  is  natural  to  suppose  that 
her  husband,  who  already  loves  her  for  her  merit, 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  243 

will  esteem  her  still  more;  though^  should  this 
also  fail,  she  cannot  want  that  satisfaction  of 
mind  which  always  results  from  having  acted 
wisely,  and  done  our  duty. 

Quest. — I  am  a  young  woman,  and  have  been 
very  dutiful  to  my  parents ;  but  now  they  liave 
proposed  a  husband  for  me  whom  I  cannot  love : 
therefore  how  shall  I  discharge  my  duty  ?  whe- 
ther to  oblige  my  parents,  and  live  an  uncom- 
fortable life  (for  I  cannot  expect  any  other^  where 
minds  are  not  equally  agreed) ;  or  to  disoblige 
them,  by  refusing  what  they  so  earnestly  im- 
portune ? 

Ans. — As  a  child  cannot  lawfully  dispose  of 
itself  without  the  consent  of  its  parents,  so  on 
the  other  hand  the  parents  cannot  marry  their 
children  without  their  consent.  Indeed,  a  duty 
to  our  parents,  and  the  respect  we  should  have 
for  their  judgments,  should  be  of  more  weight  in 
this  affair  than  a  childish  unreasonable  fancy, 
and  which,  in  all  probability,  will  be  the  ruin  of 
the  person  that  entertains  it ;  though,  on  the 
contrary,  where  it  is  covetousness,  or  some  un- 
accountable whim,  that  is  the  motive  in  the  pa- 
rents, the  many  unhappy  examples  that  have 
been  in  such  matches  should  prevail  with  them 
against  such  injunctions ;  and  we  think  it  not 
undutifulness  in  children  to  deny  their  compli- 
ances, after  all  just  methods,  by  the  intercession 

R  2 


244 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


of  friends  «ind  entreaties  to  the  contrary.  There 
is  no  greater  barbarity  in  nature  than  unequal 
matches  ;  the  mines  and  galleys  are  trifles  to  it 
in  this  life,  and  it  is  too  often  the  earnest  of  worse 
hereafter. 


Quest, — Whether  it  is  honourable  for  a  lady 
to  answer  a  gentleman's  letters,  when  she  intends 
not  to  entertain  him  ? 

jins\ — It  is  rrue  that  writing  is  a  nice  thing, 
but  it  is  not  every  letter  that  will  bear  being  seen. 
Men,  when  repulsed,  often  grow  malicious  and 
desperate,  and  will  make  what  interpretation  they 
please  of  what  is  written  ;  or,  if  it  is  too  prudently 
expressed  to  admit  any  cavils,  which  is  almost 
impossible,  they  will  as  severely  censure  the  very 
action  of  writing,  or  else  interpret  it  too  favour- 
ably for  themselves,  and  put  the  lady  to  further 
trouble  in  undeceiving  them  ;  for  which  reason, 
it  had  been  much  more  proper  if  the  query  had 
been,  whether  such  writing  had  been  prudent, 
rather  than  honourable,  which,  in  most  instances, 
must  have  been  resolved  in  the  negative.  How- 
ever, there  may  be  some  singular  cases,  wherein 
it  may  be  both  honourable  and  prudent  for  the  lady 
to  write ;  as  when  she  is  satisfied  the  person  she 
writes  to  is  a  man  of  honour,  and  cannot  other- 
wise so  well  disengage  him  from  a  fruitless  amour. 


Quest, — Having  an  intimate  acquaintance  with 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  245 

a  lady  of  quality  and  fortune,  and  being  by  fre- 
quent and  familiar  expressions  of  uncommon 
favours  induced  into  a  belief  of  more  tban  or- 
dinary kindness,  I  at  last  declared  my  ambitious 
affection  ; — at  which  she  rejected  my  proposals 
with  the  greatest  regret  and  disdain,  yet  notwith- 
standing continues  a  more  strict  and  kind  cor- 
respondence than  ever,  so  long  as  I  mention  not 
any  thing,  or  send  any  letter  tending  to  my  former 
address;  but,  as  often  as  I  court  her  compla- 
cency, she  not  only  gives  me  sharp  denials,  but 
for  some  time  absents  herself  from  me.  Yet  I  am 
informed  of  her  uneasiness  and  melancholy  tem- 
per when  I  am  gone,  and  of  the  pleasure  and  satis- 
faction she  takes  when  I  am  talked  of,  or  in  com- 
pany. Likewise  our  daily  private  conversation, 
both  the  freedom  and  liberty  of  honourable  ac- 
tions, discourse,  and  silent  natural  love,  not  only 
confirm  me  in  the  belief  of  it,  but  I  am  con- 
vinced on  all  hands,  and  apparently  perceive  she 
loves  me  extremely  well. 

Now,  being  fully  assured  I  shall  never  gain  her 
consent  or  prevail  upon  her  by  express  courtship, 
and  knowing  that  she  is  a  lady  of  honour  and 
entire  chastity,  I  desire  to  know  what  method  I 
shall  use  to  marry  her,  without  either  speaking 
or  writing  to  her  of  love  and  affection  ? 

Ans. — It  would  be  well  if  you  could  conjure 
here  one  of  the  mutes  of  the  seraglio  to  be  your 
tutor  for  one  quarter  of  a  year,  and  teach  you  to 


246 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE, 


make  dumb  love^  in  which  they  so  much  excel. 
But,  since  the  black  art  is  not  lawful,  and  it 
would  take  a  long  time  to  fetch  the  mute  either 
by  land  or  sea,  you  must  be  content  with  the 
Council  of  Christendom  in  this  weighty  affair. 
But,  first,  we  congratulate  your  happiness  in 
having  a  mistress  that  will  not  put  you  to  the 
expense  of  oaths  or  falsehoods,  or  so  much  as  pen, 
ink,  and  paper ;  indeed,  you  seem  not  properly 
to  estimate  your  good  fortune.  Why,  hovj  many 
silly  things  are  we  poor  militant  lovers  obliged  to 
talk  to  our  mistresses  before  we  can  thoroughly 
deceive  them !   what  a  parcel  of  plays  and  ro- 
mances must  we  plunder  for  whole  nosegays  of 
flowers  to  present  to  the  ladies  of  our  best  affec- 
tion!   Now,  all  this  is  clear  gains  to  you;  for 
a  penny  saved,  you  know,  is  a  penny  gained ; 
and  you  may  even  besiege  the  town  without  all 
these  lines  of  circum  and  contravallation.  Well, 
all  this  is  by  way  of  reprehension.    Now  for  a 
little  direction  and  exhortation,  of  which  one 
should  think,  too,  you  had  no  great  need.  She 
loves  you  ;  she  loves  to  look  upon  you,  to  talk 
with  you,  and  of  you,  and  gives  you  all  the  ho- 
nourable marks  of  silent  natural  love ;  and  can- 
not you  love  her  in  her  own  way,  let  her  love 
which  way  she  pleases  ?    What  if  she  should 
require  such  tokens  of  love  as  the  African  ladies 
do,  and  expect  you  should  stand  still  and  admire 
her,  wiiile  she  pinched  and  bit  you  till  she  made 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  247 

her  obdurate  teeth  and  nails  meet  in  your  patient 
lips  and  knuckles  ?  But  only  to  sit  still  and  be 
loved,  one  would  think,  should  be  no  very  diffi- 
cult matter.  If  you  must  say  nothing,  cannot 
you  look  as  well  as  think  the  more  ?  Nay,  can- 
not you  speak  side-ways,  though  you  may  not 
directly  ;  and  good  speed  is  often  made  by  sailing 
upon  a  side-wind.  Thus  you  may  insensibly 
gain  upon  her;  till  at  last,  if  she  is  a  woman, 
she  will  speak  to  you  to  speak,  or  give  some 
shrewd  signs  she  would  have  you  no  longer 
silent.  But,  if  she  would  have  you  dumb  every 
where  else,  when  you  think  it  proper  time,  try 
if  she  will  let  you  speak  at  church_,  and  herself 
answer  you,  since  perhaps  she  has  a  mind  to  be 
surprized  in  her  happiness.  In  the  mean  time 
be  patient,  observant,  and  submissive,  and  no 
doubt  you  will  gain  your  point. 


Quest, — Is  Love  good  or  evil  to  us  ?  And 
which  is  most  laudable,  to  place  it  upon  man- 
kind, or  some  other  object,  as  fame,  &c.  ? 

Ans, — Next  to  existence  itself,  the  capacity  of 
loving  is  the  greatest  gift  that  God  has  bestowed 
upon  man  ;  since,  by  that  faculty  only,  he  is 
fitted  for  the  enjoyment  of  all  outward  goods, 
and  the  more  noble  and  excellent  the  object  is, 
so  much  is  it  the  more  capable  of  giving  us  an 
extensive  and  durable  happiness;  therefore^  the 


248 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


love  of  each  other  is  preferable  to  that  of  honours, 
fame,  and  riches  ;  and  our  inconstancy  and  bad 
choice  is  the  reason  why  it  is  so  indifferently 
relished  among  us. 

Quest. — Whether  the  woman's  condition  in 
marriage  be  not  worse  than  the  man's  ? 

Ans, — It  much  depends  on  her  own  conduct. 
Nature  has  generally  given  the  woman  art  enough ; 
by  which;  if  either  she  herself,  or  custom,  or 
law,  has  given  our  sex  any  advantage  over  theirs, 
they  may,  if  they  please,  recover  more  than  their 
own  again.  In  child-birth  they  have  doubtless 
much  more  reason  to  wish  the  human  race  might 
propagate  like  trees,  than  man  has  to  desire  any 
such  thing,  though  one  of  our  own  sex  (Brown), 
author  of  Vulgar  Errors,"  first  started  that  odd 
whimsey. 

Quest, — What  way  shall  a  shame-faced  virgin 
take,  to  let  a  person  know  she  loves  him  ? 

Ans, — If  the  lady  who  proposes  this  question 
has  either  hands  or  eyes,  she  need  not  be  taught 
how  to  use  them,  unless  her  spark  is  a  fool,  or 
blind,  or  never  leads  her. 

Quest. — Whether  it  is  right  for  a  woman  to 
marry  one  she  does  not  love,  in  hopes  that  love 
will  come  after  ? 

Ans. — ^There  is  a  great  deal  of  difference  in  not 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  249 

loving  a  person,  and  not  being  able  to  love  him,  as 
having  an  unconquerable  aversion  to  him,  either 
from  secret  unaccountable  causes — as  who  can 
give  a  satisfactory  reason  why  so  many  people 
have  an  antipathy  to  cheese,  unless  that  they 
were  surfeited  of  milk  before  they  were  weaned  ; 
or  else  such  an  aversion  be  grounded  on  some 
disagreeableness  in  a  man's  person  or  disposition, 
which  may  be  very  difficult  to  conquer.  In 
both  those  cases  it  is  not  prudent,  nor,  we  think, 
lawful  to  marry,  because  one  end  of  matrimony, 
mutual  comfort  and  support,  can  never  be  an- 
swered ;  besides,  you  will  find  so  much  to  bear 
with  and  forgive  in  your  husband,  as  well  as  he 
in  you,  that,  unless  you  are  both  angels,  without 
this  love  on  both  sides  to  sweeten  and  unite,  you 
are  like  to  lead  but  a  miserable  life.    But,  in 
truth,  men  are  not  so  complaisant  after  marriage 
as  before;  and  perhaps  you  must  do  all  yourself 
towards  loving  them,  since  they  generally  think 
they  have  said  all  their  part  before  matrimony. 

Quest, — I  wish  to  be  informed  what  bounds 
Religion  and  Reason  prescribe  to  Love ;  and  whe- 
ther it  be  not  possible,  let  women  be  ever  so  ex- 
cellent, to  sin  in  over-loving  them ;  I  mean,  in 
such  love  as  is  itself  lawful,  towards  one  particular 
person  ? 

Ans. — Love  and  Poetry,  as  they  are  related  in 
other  respects,  so  are  they  in  this,  that  they  have 


250  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

bonds  and  shackles.  Cupid,  as  well  as  Apollo, 
is  a  sort  of  Pindarical  gentleman.  He  is,  you 
must  know,  a  god  too,  such  a  one  as  it  is,  and 
looks  as  big,  with  his  bows  and  arrows,  as  his 
uncle  Jupiter  himself,  with  all  his  thunder, 
though  Vulcan  had  just  hammered  them  a  new 
set  of  bolts  out  of  a  forge,  and  filed  them  as 
bright  as  his  mother  Juno's  forehead.  But  to 
say  no  more  of  these  heathen  gods  and  loves ; 
there  is  no  doubt  but  the  love  of  a  wise  and  good 
man  ought  to  be,  however  difficult  the  work, 
confined  within  the  bounds  of  Religion  and  Rea- 
son, unless  he  will  love  irreligiously,  or  like  a 
distracted  person.  As  for  those  bounds,  they  are 
to  be  fixed  by  the  bounds  of  a  superior  love ;  and 
such  undoubtedly  is,  or  ought  to  be,  our  love 
to  Heaven,  to  our  country,  ourselves,  and  perhaps 
our  parents,  at  least  before  marriage ;  for,  though 
we  are  "  to  leave  father  and  mother,  and  cleave  to 
a  wife,"  yet  it  is  no-where  said  so  of  a  mistress. 
As  for  the  second  question,  the  resolution  of  it 
depends  upon  the  first,  for  it  is  possible  to  love 
a  woman  more  than  any  of  these  objects  which 
ought  to  be  preferred  before  her.  That  Love  is 
disorderly,  and  a  transgression  both  of  the  laws 
of  Religion  and  Reason  ;  though  it  is  difficult  to 
find  one  who  loves  in  earnest,  that  has  yet  no- 
thing to  answer  for  on  that  account. 


Quest, — Whether  a  young  lady  ought,  in  rea- 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  351 

son  or  prudence,  to  keep  by  her,  after  she  is 
married,  any  letters  or  pictures  from  any  of  her 
former  admirers  ? 

Ans. — It  may  seem  in  itself  an  indifferent 
thing,  unless  in  some  few  circumstances,  which 
totally  alter  the  case.  One  is,  if  the  husband  be 
inclined  to  jealousy ;  another,  if  the  lady,  when 
married,  loved  any  other  person  more  than  her 
husband,  whose  letters  and  pictures  might,  on 
that  account,  be  as  dangerous  for  her  to  keep 
about  her,  as  on  the  other  imprudent.  There 
may  yet  be  one  case  more,  wherein  it  may  not  be 
convenient  for  her  to  keep  any  thing  received  of 
a  former  lover ;  and  that  is,  when  there  is  a  pro- 
bability such  persons  may  speak  unhandsomely 
of  her  if  she  keep  such  things,  and,  being  enraged 
at  losing  her,  may  easily  take  occasion  so  to 
speak. 

Quest, — A  lady  desires  to  know  when  she  shall 
have  a  husband  ? 

Ans, — We  read  of  a  waggish  boy,  who  went  to 
the  Delphic  Oracle  with  a  live  sparrow  in  his 
hand,  and  proposed  this  question,  "  Whether  the 
sparrow  was  dead  or  alive  ?"  designing  that,  if  the 
Oracle  had  answered  deady  to  have  shewn  it  alive ; 
but,  if  the  Oracle  had  answered  alive,  to  have 
crushed  it  in  his  hand,  and  produced  it  dead. 
But  the  Oracle  answered :  In  te  sitwn,  &c. 
"  It  is  in  thy  power  to  produce  it  either  alive  or 


252 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


dead.  I  aai  sensible  the  lady  needs  not  to  be 
instructed  in  the  application,  which,  if  she  designs 
in  the  affirmative,  I  would  not  have  her  to  neglect 
her  form  of  prayer. 

Quest. — After  what  manner  should  a  gentle- 
man, at  the  first  visit,  accost  his  mistress  ? 

j4ns, — Mistresses  are  to  be  attacked,  like  towns, 
according  to  their  fortifications,  situation,  or  gar- 
rison ;  no  general  rule,  in  such  cases,  can  be 
given.  Some  are  weak  of  one  side,  some  of  ano- 
ther, which  a  cunning  engineer  will  soon  find 
out.  Some  are  to  be  mined,  some  to  be  bombed, 
some  won  by  storm,  others  by  composition,  others 
to  be  starved  into  a  surrender.  The  pleasantest 
way  of  courtship  we  ever  heard  of  was  that  of  a 
very  old,  very  rich,  very  covetous,  very  foolish,  very 
ugly  humble  servant,  to  a  fine  young  lady ;  whom, 
having  taken  abroad  in  his  coach,  after  some  pre- 
fatory hums  and  haws,  and  genteel  leers,  he  pulls 
out  from  under  his  coat  his  great  bossed  Bible, 
with  silver  clasps,  and,  turning  to  the  beginning 
of  Genesis,  shews  her  not  that  text,  Increase  and 
multiply,  which  it  is  very  likely  he  held  his 
thumb  upon,  but  another,  a  little  after  it,  It  is 
not  good  for  a  man  to  he  alone ;  and  thereupon 
made  her  a  very  seasonable  holding-forth  on  the 
uses  and  excellencies  of  matrimony. 

Some  termagant  wits,  like  Sylvia  in  "The  Sol- 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  S53 

dier  s  Fortune/'  are  only  to  be  won  by  downright 
caterwauling;  that  is,  rambling,  and  fighting,  and 
scratching,  breaking  legs  and  arms  and  necks, 
and  then  to  purring  again.  But  a  woman  of 
sense,  as  she  hates  on  one  side  a  freakish  lover, 
or  a  supple  fop  that  is  alternately  kneeling,  and 
cringing,  and  whining  ;  so  she  will  never  endure 
stiffness,  pride,  and  haughtiness,  which  as  ill 
becomes  love  as  it  does  devotion  ;  and  the  greater 
her  birth  and  fortune  are,  something  of  a  pro- 
portionably  greater  respect  ought  to  be  paid  her : 
in  a  word,  a  modest  assurance,  a  manly  beha- 
viour, a  tenderness  for  all  her  inclinations,  a 
diligent  observation  of  her  temper  and  humour, 
faithfulness,  assiduity,  liberality,  and  good  sense, 
will  at  last  carry  her,  if  she  is  not  pre-engaged, 
or  wholly  impregnable. 

Quest. — Whether  fondness  after  marriage  is 
more  pardonable  in  man  or  woman  ? 

Ans, — It  is  silly  enough  to  both,  as  well  as 
indecent,  to  be  always  slabbering,  like  a  couple 
of  horses  rubbing  one  another.  It  often  shows  all 
things  are  not  well  behind  the  curtain,  when 
there  is  so  much  love  before  folks ;  and  there  is 
danger  lest  their  love  should  not  last  long,  if  they 
squander  it  away  too  fast  at  their  first  setting  up. 
But  to  compare  this  fondness  of  both  sexes,  we 
think  it  seems  worst  in  a  man;  because  there  it  is 
most  unnatural,  and  looks,  like  a  woman  with  a 


254 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


beard,  so  very  monstrous,  that  all  the  street 
points  at  her  wherever  she  appears. 

Quest, — Whether  it  is  better  to  marry  a  wo- 
man with  a  singular  good  temper,  and  not  truly 
religious  ;  or  a  shrewd,  of  a  crabbed  temper,  that 
is  religious  ? 

Ans, — For  the  first,  there  are  hopes  of  her,  if 
she  is  of  a  good  temper,  and  that  well  managed, 
that  she  may  improve,  and^  by  God's  mercy, 
become  truly  pious  and  religious ;  though,  if 
not,  we  believe  even  a  good  man  might  live  more 
comfortably  with  her  than  the  other,  who,  after 
all,  may  not  prove  very  religious ;  for  it  is  cer- 
tainly true  of  woman,  as  well  as  man,  if  they 
bridle  not  their  tongue,  all  their  Religion  is  vain. 

Quest. — Can  a  tender  friendship  between  two 
persons  of  different  sexes  be  innocent  ? 

Ans, — Such  a  friendship  is  not  only  innocent, 
but  commendable,  and  as  advantageous  as  it  is 
delightful.  A  strict  union  of  souls  is  the  essence 
of  friendship.  There  is  no  sex  in  souls;  nor, 
while  those  only  are  concerned,  can  any  thing 
that  is  criminal  intrude.  It  is  a  conversation 
truly  angelic;  and  has  so  many  charms  in  it,  that 
the  friendships  between  man  and  man  bear  no 
comparison  to  it.  The  very  souls  of  the  fair  sex, 
as  well  as  their  bodies,  are  more  delicate  than 
those  of  men,  while  men  reckon  themselves  pos- 
sessed of  a  more  solid  judgment  and  stronger 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  255 

reason.  Nor  can  any  thing  on  earth  give  a 
greater  or  purer  pleasure  than  communicating 
such  knowledge  to  a  worthy  person,  who,  if  of 
the  fair  sex,  by  the  charms  of  her  conversation 
inexpressibly  sweetens  the  present  labours  ;  and, 
by  the  advantage  of  a  fine  mind  and  good  genius, 
often  advances  such  notions  as  the  instructor  him- 
self would  not  otherwise  have  thought  of. 

Quest.  —  Is  it  lawful  to  make  addresses  to 
young  ladies  without  previously  consulting  their 
parents  and  relatives? 

Ans,  Gallantry  and  duty,  in  this  case,  gene- 
rally advise  to  very  different  measures  ;  and,  as 
the  world  goes,  a  lady  would  give  her  admirer 
but  small  thanks  for  first  making  love  to  her 
father  and  mother.    But  to  come  to  the  point. 

We  may  divide  addresses  to  a  lady,  like  attacks 
on  a  town,  into  two  ranks;  they  are  either  loose 
blockades,  or  formed  sieges.  The  first  are  not 
of  so  great  consequence ;  whereas,  the  latter 
ought  not  to  be  laid  or  raised  without  deeper  con- 
sideration. It  is  easy  to  apply  this.  A  general 
conversation  with  a  lady  is  requisite,  to  know,  if 
possible,  whether  she  deserves  to  be  loved  ;  and 
this  before  any  application  be  made  to  the  parents 
for  a  formal  courtship.  I  would  advise  to  make 
applications  both  to  the  daughter  and  parents  as 
near  as  possible  at  the  same  time,  that  neither 
might  conceive  any  umbrage  of  each  other.  The 


2^6  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

latter  part  of  the  question,  indeed,  admits  of  many- 
distinctions.  There  is,  first,  a  great  difference 
between  immediate  parents  and  more  remote 
relations;  and  perhaps,  too,  between  some  pa- 
rents and  others. 


Quest. — Whether  it  is  lawful  to  marry  a  person 
one  cannot  love,  only  in  compliance  to  relations, 
and  to  get  an  estate  ? 

Ans. — Had  the  question  only  been  proposed  of 
such  as  we  do  not  actually  love,  it  might  perhaps 
have  admitted  of  some  limitation,  since  we  some- 
times see  persons  love  tenderly  after  marriage, 
who  could  hardly  endure  each  others  sight  before; 
though  even  such  an  experiment  must  be  very 
hazardous ;  and  he  must  be  a  bold  man  who  dares 
venture  upon  it :  but  as  it  is  proposed,  whether 
we  may  marry  such  as  we  cannot  love,  it  is  beyond 
all  doubt,  and  must  be  answered  in  the  negative, 
since  such  a  practice  would  be  most  cruel  and 
imprudent.  Society  is  the  main  end  of  marriage. 
Love  is  the  bond  of  society,  without  which  there 
can  neither  be  found  in  that  state  pleasure,  or 
profit,  or  honour  ;  he,  then,  or  she,  that  marries 
for  so  base  an  end  as  profit,  without  any  possi- 
bility or  prospect  of  Love,  is  guilty  of  the  highest 
brutality  imaginable,  and  is  united  to  a  carcass 
without  a  soul ;  this  being  also  but  too  general  a 
truth,  as  one  wittily  observes,  That  he  who 
marries  a  woman  he  could  never  love,  will,  it  is 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE. 


257 


to  be  feared,  soon  love  a  woman  he  never  mar- 
ried ? 


Quest,— Wh^t  course  must  a  person  take  to 
remove  a  lady's  aversion  to  him,  supposing  her 
under  some  previous  engagement? 

^ns, — A  pre-engagement  of  that  nature  is  so 
sacred  a  thing,  that  no  man  in  his  sober  reason 
ought  to  contribute  any  thing  towards  the  break- 
ing of  it,  on  which  account  it  would  scarcely  be 
honest  to  give  directions  for  the  attempting  of  it. 
But  if  the  question  be  simply  how  to  conquer  a 
lady's  aversion — that  admits  of  a  fair  answer.  The 
best  way  is,  after  having  found  her  humour,  to 
ply  her  close ;  do  not  let  her,  if  possible,  so  much 
as  sleep,  which  they  say  is  the  way  to  tame  the 
wildest  creature  in  the  world:  or  if  she  does  sleep, 
be  so  often  with  her  that  she  can  dream  of  no- 
thing but  you.  This  only  receipt  has  the  greatest 
effect  on  most  of  the  fair  sex,  who,  if  you  perse- 
vere long  enough,  will  be  forced  at  last  to  love  you 
in  their  own  defence.  As  they  give  alms  to  beggars 
to  be  rid  of  them  and  their  importunities,  so  they 
will  give  themselves  to  their  lovers  to  be  rid  of 
their  wooings. 

Quest. — Whether,  if  females  went  a-courting, 
there  would  not  be  more  marriages  than  there 
now  are  r 

Ans, — 1  think  not  so  many,  at  least  if  they 
s 


258 


THE   ATHENIAN  OKACLF.. 


only  were  to  court,  and  we  to  be  silent ;  for  as 
courage  is  the  most  proper  virtue  of  man,  so  mo- 
desty is  of  a  woman  (though  we  meet  with  them 
sometimes  in  the  contrary  sexes)  ;  for  which  rea- 
son many  ladies  would  die  sooner  than  stoop  to 
what  they  think  so  mean  a  practice ;  as  we  have 
had  instances  of  some  who  have  actually  done  so; 
it  is  their  interest  as  well  as  their  inchnation  to  be 
on  the  defensive,  for  it  is  certain  that  most  men 
slight  those  females  who  fall  in  love  with  them  ; 
most  of  all  if  they  proffer,  or  almost  force  them- 
selves upon  them. 

Quest.— How  shall  a  man  know  when  a  lady 
loves  him  ? 

— First  find  out,  if  you  can,  whether  she 
has  loved  any  other  before,  for  that  renders  the 
case  much  more  difficult;  for  one  that  has  been 
deceived  herself  knows  how  to  deceive  you.  Jea- 
lousy is  counted  one  pretty  sure  sign  of  love,  but 
I  think  it  much  such  anoifier  as  convulsions  are 
of  life.  If  a  woman  tells  you  she  loves,  there  is 
no  way  but  believing  her  ;  indeed,  there  are  hardly 
any  of  the  tokens  of  that  passion  but  are  fallible, 
though  the  shrewdest  sign  that  a  woman  loves 
you  is  her  marrying  you. 

Quest. — Whether  beauty  be  real  or  imaginary  ? 
Ans. — Custom  and  opinion  go  a  great  way  to- 
wards making  a  deformity  or  a  beauty  ;  and  how 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE. 


«59 


shall  we  know  who  is  right,  he  that  abuses  the  Negro 
for  his  flat  nose  and  thick  lips,  or  the  Negro,  who 
abuses  the  other  for  his  thin  lips  and  high  nose  ? 
Nor  has  complexion  any  better  fate  than  propor- 
tion ;  one  who  is  born  white  among  the  blacks 
being  as  great  a  monster  as  a  black  among  those 
that  are  white.  However,  as  exceptions  do  not 
set  aside  general  rules,  there  must  be  a  best  some- 
where; white  is  lovely,  and  black  horrid  —  one 
resembling  the  light,  and  the  other  darkness.  In 
these  things,  therefore,  we  place  beauty  ;  namely, 
features,  proportion,  complexion,  mien,  and  air. 
There  is  such  a  thing  as  a  good  feature  taken  by 
itself  —  some  things  being  shaped  more  neatly 
than  others,  as  we  may  see  in  a  horse  compared 
with  an  elephant — a  greyhound  with  a  swine.  And 
this  is  something  in  Nature,  independent  from  the 
fancy  or  judgment  of  any  man.  Now  this  feature, 
as  it  is  a  real  beauty,  so  it  is  distinct  even  from 
proportion.  We  see  persons  who  have  some 
good  features,  nose,  mouth,  chin,  &c. ;  whereas  the 
rest  may  either  be  deformed  or  unproportionable, 
not  bearing  that  due  regard  of  situation  or  magni- 
tude one  to  another  which  at  first  sight  appears 
pleasing  or  natural.  A  good  mien  relates  to  all 
the  body,  a  fine  air  to  the  face  only;  a  good  mien 
is  but  of  one  sort,  and  more  easily  described  than 
an  air ;  it  signifies  the  handsome  appearance  some 
people  make  when  you  take  them  all  together. 
And  this,  though  there  may  be  something  of  it  in 

s  2 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


Nature,  yet  it  is  chiefly  owing  to  education  ; 
whereas  a  good  air  is  perfectly  natural,  and  im- 
possible to  be  given  by  all  the  art  in  the  world ; 
for  sometimes  we  see  a  face  with  lines  of  majesty 
in  it,  that,  like  Caesar's,  or  Gustavus  Adolphus', 
dazzles  all  that  beholds  it,  and  is  so  sharp  and 
piercing,  that  it  is  almost  insupportable  ;  at  other 
times  we  meet  with  such  an  incomparable  sweet- 
ness, that  it  charms  all  that  see  it,  and  those  who 
have  it  we  rather  call  pretty  than  beautiful,  since 
it  is  often  found  where  there  is  scarcely  one  good 
feature.  Now  it  is  a  rare  happiness  indeed  to  see 
a  face  at  once  both  sweet  and  majestic,  though, 
when  discovered,  they  conquer  the  world.  What 
then  must  they  do,  when  the  owners  of  them  have 
the  advantages  of  a  good  mien,  good  features,  just 
proportion,  and  a  fine  complexion  r  Complexion 
is  of  the  least  value,  for  it  soonest  fades ;  fools 
often  have  it,  and  we  are  not  agreed  which  is  the 
best.  We  rank  good  features  in  the  next  place, 
with  which  may  be  reckoned  proportion,  since,  in 
general,  one  cannot  be  without  the  other.  Better 
than  both  appears  a  good  mien,  for  it  lasts  longer, 
and  recommends  more,  especially  in  a  man,  where 
iheface  is  not  of  much  importance.  Best  of  all 
a  good  air,  because,  when  good  mien  and  com- 
plexion fail — when  there  is  sometimes  little  that 
we  like  either  in  feature  or  proportion — a  good 
mien  always  lasts;  anjd  nothing  but  death,  and 
hardly  that,  can  alter  or  destroy  it. 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE. 


2^1 


Quest. — I  have  a  dreadful  scold  of  a  wife,  and 
would  willingly  give  you  half  my  estate  to  tell  me 
how  to  tame  her? 

Ans. — That  we  will  do  for  nothing,  on  condi- 
tion you  will  not  turn  the  old  proverb  upon  us. 
The  method  we  would  prescribe  for  taming  your 
shrew  is,  laugh  at  her,  and  let  her  scold  on  till 
she  is  weary  ;  seem  to  take  no  notice  of  her  ;  do 
as  a  mastiff  would  to  a  little  whiffling  cur  that 
barks  at  him  ;  say  nothing  to  her,  unless  a  little 
by  the  bye;  and  perhaps,  when  she  sees  herself 
slighted,  she  will  burst  for  mere  vexation. 

Quest. — Whether  is  the  man  or  the  woman 
more  subject  to  love  ? 

Ans. — The  question  is  very  evident.  A  man  is 
sooner  taken  and  wrapped  in  love  than  a  woman  ; 
for  we  see  that  the  man,  who  is  born  to  a  thousand 
good  and  great  enterprizes,  does,  for  the  sake  of 
love,  abandon  all  the  glory  and  honour  of  the 
world. 


Quest. — There  is  a  gentleman  whose  friends 
are  very  desirous  to  see  him  settled  before  their 
death.  He  has  now  the  offer  of  four  wives.  The 
one  a  very  considerable  fortune,  but  nothing  else 
to  recommend  her,  and  this  lady  he  despises  ;  but. 
this  his  friends  most  approve  of.  Another  a  very 
beautiful  lady,  young,  gay,  and  brisk  ;  and  though 
she  is  not  over  wise,  yet  her  person  is  very  hand- 


262 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


some,  and  he  could  love  her  extremely.  The  third 
is  a  lady  of  great  goodness,  high  generosity,  and 
abounding  in  wit.  This  he  esteems  above  them  all, 
but  knows  not  where  to  fix ;  for  there  is  a  fourth, 
that  courts  him  with  all  the  insinuation  and  pas- 
sion imaginable,  but  she  is  a  coquette  ;  excepting 
that,  she  is  every  way  a  desirable  match  ? 

Ans. — Poor  Gentleman !  he  is  like  to  be  stifled 
with  kisses,  and  in  great  danger  of  being  pressed 
to  death  with  roses.  How  many  an  honest  man 
now  would  be  glad  of  the  worst  bit  of  his  leavings ! 
But  to  business ;  if  the  propagation  of  guineas 
were  the  only  end  of  marriage,  the  first  would  do 
best ;  if  neither  men  nor  women  have  souls,  as 
some  Turks  and  Jews  think  of  the  latter,  and 
a  few  fools  of  the  former,  the  second  would  be 
most  desirable.  If  a  man  were  obliged  to  cut  his 
own  throat,  or,  what  is  worse,  turn  a  galley  slave, 
and  tug  at  the  matrimonial  oar  till  death  do  them 
part,  purely  and  only  to  save  a  woman's  longing, 
then  let  him  take  the  last  that  is  in  love  with 
him.  But,  if  he  is  for  a  match  of  body  and  soul 
together,  let  him  even  "  to  have  and  to  hold"  it 
with  the  third,  who,  if  they  have  but  enough  to 
live  above  contempt  or  care,  can  want  no  fortune 
while  she  has  so  large  a  share  of  wit,  goodness 
and  generosity. 

Quest. — How  far  may  Singing  and  Music  be 
proper  in  making  love  r 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  2^3 

Am. — There  is  nothing  that  charms  the  soul 
more  than  fine  Music.  It  is  almost  impossible 
for  any  thing  to  resist  it;  though  in  vocal  still 
more  than  instrumental.  It  smooths  all  the  rug- 
ged passions  of  the  soul,  and,  like  beauty,  be- 
witches into  love  almost  before  persons  know  where 
they  are.  But  even  here,  as  well  as  in  all  other 
cases,  extremes  are  to  be  avoided,  nothing  being 
more  ridiculous  than  an  eternal  farewell  to  love  ; 
and  a  lady  of  sense  would  as  soon  make  choice  of 
a  singing-master,  as  one  who  is  always  tiring  her 
with  hard  names  and  doleful  ditties.  He  must 
then  sing  very  rarely  ;  not  be  of  the  humour  of 
most  songsters,  who  neither  know  when  to  begin 
nor  make  an  end.  His  performances  must  be  na- 
tural and  easy,  and  carry  something  of  a  free  and 
genteel  air;  and  he  must  never  himself  appear  too 
well  pleased  with  them,  but  order  it  so,  that  he 
may  seem  to  oblige  the  lady^  not  himself,  by  his 
melody. 

Quest. — How  may  a  man  reclaim  an  unruly 
woman  ? 

Ans. — ^Give  her  rope  enough  ;  let  her  alone,  for 
she  is  not  to  be  made  civil  by  any  thing  but  the 
worms.  But  if  you  have  a  mind  to  try  to  work 
miracles,  you  may  use  some  of  the  following  di- 
rections. Watch  her  tame ;  that  is  the  last  re- 
medy first.  This  is  a  way  to  tame  even  lions  and 
tigers.    Some  beat  a  drum  till  their  poor  women 


S64  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

have  been  perfectly  dumb  and  deaf  with  the  noise. 
Some  are  for  letting  blood  under  the  tongue,  or 
in  both  arms,  to  prevent  her  scolding  or  fighting. 
Others  are  for  drawing  teeth,  which  would  do 
well  enough  if  they  could  cut  the  nails  too  at  the 
same  time.  But  the  surest  way  of  all  is  being  a 
good  husband  yourself ;  for  being  bad  husbands 
are  very  often  the  cause  that  the  wives  are  no 
better  than  they  should  be. 

Quest, — Why  women  are  for  the  most  part 
fonder  and  falser  than  men  ? 

j4ns, — We  shall  deny  they  are  so  for  the  most 
part,  until  the  Querist  has  told  all  the  noses  in 
the  world.  For  their  fondness,  none  ever  went 
further  in  the  trial  of  it,  than  Spenser's  Squire 
of  Dames.  And  he  made  the  experiment  but  on 
three  hundred.  But  that  is  all  a  spiteful  fable, 
mvented  by  the  angry  Poet  for  the  loss  of  his 
mistress.  And  would  some  fair  lady  make 
the  same  trial,  undoubtedly  she  would  find  fewer 
denials  than  he  did,  supposing  the  story  true. 
Then  for  their  being  falser  too,  the  objector  un- 
luckily destroys  one  part  of  the  calumny  by  the 
other  ;  for  if  fonder  indeed,  we  men  are  gene- 
rally the  painters,  and  order  all  things  as  we 
please.  We  write  the  histories  of  women,  and  re- 
present ourselves  and  them  as  we  think  fit;  but 
they  seldom  write  our  lives,  or  defend  themselves. 
But  grant  the  observation  true  in  some  cases,  yet 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  26$ 

the  poor  ladies  are  easily  excused.  If  they  are  fond, 
it  is  disingenuous  to  blame  them;  and  we  seldom 
think  them  so,  till  we  are  willing  to  leave  them. 
If  they  are  false,  we  teach  them  to  be  so,  and  they 
are  often  driven  into  it  either  out  of  despair  or 
revenge. 

Quest.  —  A  young  man  is  in  love  with  a 
famed  beauty,  but  slighted  by  her.  The  same 
person  is  loved  by  another  young  lady  of  less 
beauty,  but  superior  fortune.  How  shall  he  be- 
have himself  between  them  ? 

Ans, — We  would  advise  him  to  drop  his  ad- 
dresses to  the  beauty  for  two  good  reasons — be- 
cause she  is  a  beauty,  and  because  she  will  not 
entertain  him.  On  the  contrary,  to  improve  his 
interest  in  the  fortune,  if  she  has  no  remarkable 
ill  qualities,  because  she  has  a  fortune,  which  he 
will  find  the  most  comfortable  importance  in  all 
matrimony,  and  much  more  savour  in  it  than  the 
old  knight-errant  way,  that  thin-gutted,  ram- 
bling, grinning,  starving  love  ;  and  because  she 
drops  into  his  mouth,  and  there  are  all  the  charges 
of  lies,  presents,  whining,  dying,  love-letters, 
maids,  porters,  clearly  saved  into  his  own  pocket. 

Quest, — Whether  the  passage  of  St.  Paul,  in 
1  Tim.  iii.  2,  A  Bishop  must  be  the  husband 
of  one  wife,"  does  not  seem  to  allow  that  the  Apos- 
tle permitted  other  men  to  have  more  than  one  ? 


i66 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


I  should  think  polygamy  the  happiest  hfe  in  the 
world,  if  it  were  not  forbidden. 

Ans, — The  reason  we  have  so  many  unhpapy 
marriages  is,  because  the  generality  of  the  world 
are  incapable  of  knowing  what  true  love  is  ;  but 
have  an  unreasonable  and  unruly  passion  to  be  sa- 
tisfied,  that  spoils  their  true  taste  of  pleasure,  and 
inclines  them  rather  to  please  the  brute  than  the 
man  ;  to  seek  more  after  a  fair  face,  or  diversity  of 
such,  than  a  wise  woman  and  a  friend  ;  but  the 
event  generally  shews  the  misfortune  of  the  choice. 
The  conversation  of  one  ingenuous  woman,  that  is 
wise  enough  to  love,  and  prudent  and  agreeable  in 
temper,  will  give  more  felicity  to  such  as  are  capa- 
ble of  being  happy,  than  the  choice  of  a  thousand  ; 
nay,  were  it  possible  they  should  all  have  similar 
qualifications :  because  true  love  is  only  between 
two;  and  without  that  all  the  pleasures  of  hfe  are 
insipid.  This  was  well  known  to  our  wise  Creator, 
who  at  first  made  but  two,  as  a  complement  of 
each  other  8  happiness.   But,  to  convince  you  that 
you  as  little  understand  St.  Paul  as  you  do  the 
notions  of  a  happy  life,  we  will  explain  the  pas- 
sage.   That  the  Bishop  must  be  the  husband  of 
but  one  wife,  must  be  understood  the  command- 
ing him  to  marry  but  one  wife,  which  not  only 
excludes  the  plurality  of  women  at  the  same  time, 
but  even  forbids  second  marriages  to  Bishops. 
After  this  manner,  Lycophron  calls  Helen  the 
wife  of  three  husbands,"  although  she  never  had 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  2^7 

three  at  a  time,  Theseus  being  dead  before  Paris 
stole  her  from  Menelaus.  Africanus  calls  a  wo- 
man that  was  married  a  second  time  Duviram, 
and  Tertullian  one  that  was  married  but  once 
Univiram.  The  primitive  Christians  founded  it 
upon  this  passage ;  and  it  is  not  unlikely  but  it 
might  be  in  imitation  of  the  Romans,  who  did 
not  permit  their  High  Priest  to  marry  a  second 
time,  that  they  also  forbid  their  Bishops.  So 
the  same  Apostle  likewise,  in  chap.  v.  ver.  g.  re- 
quires them  to  choose  such  widows  for  the  ser- 
vice of  the  Church,  as  should  be  the  wife  of  but 
one  husband,  that  is,  that  they  should  be  such  as 
had  not  married  again ;  for  women  were  not  in- 
tended to  have  many  at  the  same  time,  and  St. 
Paul  would  not  have  forbidden  a  thing  that  had 
never  happened.  But  the  Roman  Laws  permit- 
ting women  to  put  away  their  husbands,  it  was 
common  for  women  that  were  not  very  chaste  to 
change  them  often,  as  several  passages  of  Seneca 
and  Juvenal  prove. 

Quest,  —  Whether  or  not  a  woman  being  in 
love  may  make  it  known  without  any  breach  of 
modesty  ?  If  she  were  not  rather  to  be  com- 
mended for  speaking  her  mind,  than  die  like  a 
fool? 

Ans, — It  would  be  an  heroical  and  happy  ad- 
venture to  break  the  ice,  and  give  an  instance  of 
one  that  has  successfully  overcome  a  tyrannical 


268 


THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


custom.  But  the  mischief  on  it  is,  the  fear  of  a 
repulse  has  hindered  many  a  fine  attempt  that 
way.  Yet  we  see  no  reason  why  a  woman  that 
has  sense  enough  to  make  a  good  choice,  and 
knows  how  as  handsomely  to  discover  it,  should 
be  obliged  to  conceal  her  love :  on  the  contrary, 
it  would  be  the  best  method  to  discover  it ;  since 
by  that  means  she  would  find  a  good  reception  or 
a  cure;  for  it  is  very  unlikely  a  person  should  long 
love  any  one  that  slighted  them. 

Quest. — Who  are  wisest,  those  who  marry  for 
love,  or  for  convenience  ? 

Ans. — There  is  no  degree  of  wisdom  in  either ; 
but  they  are  both  fools  if  they  marry  for  one  with- 
out the  other.  Love,  without  the  necessary  con- 
veniences of  life,  will  soon  wear  thread-bare; 
and  conveniences,  without  love,  are  no  better  than 
being  chained  to  a  post,  for  the  sake  of  a  little 
meat,  drink,  and  clothing.  But,  if  we  compare 
the  small  degrees  of  each  together,  much  love, 
and  moderate  convenience,  is  far  better  than  the 
most  plentiful  estate,  with  little  or  no  love. 

Quest, — Whether  all  Marriages  are  made  in 
Heaven  ? 

^ns, — ^The  question  is,  whether  every  man  and 
woman  who  marry  were  predestined  to  the  same. 
If  by  this  predestination  is  meant  such  a  neces- 
sary determination  of  our  actions  as  make  them 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  2^9 

cease  to  be  free  and  rational,  we  must  absolutely 
deny  any  such  thing,  as  being  only  an  excuse  for 
imprudence  and  folly,  and  may  as  well  be  made 
use  of  by  bad  persons  as  weak  ones.    In  the 
mean  time  we  do  not  doubt  but  the  providence  of 
God  does  really  interpose,  and  preside  over  all  hu- 
man actions,  in  such  a  way  as  is  agreeable  to  its 
own  justice  and  wisdom,  and  the  nature  of  man ; 
and  if  in  other  actions,  certainly  in  this,  which  is 
of  the  highest  concern  to  the  happiness  of  life. 
But  this  infers  no  sort  of  necessity  upon  us,  nor  in 
the  least  takes  away  the  freedom  of  our  actions, 
which  we  feel  we  have  in   whatever  we  do ; 
though  Reason  tells  us  there  is  one  above  us,  and 
though  it  may  perhaps  fall  short  in  its  enquiry 
how  these  things  can  be  well  reconciled  with  one 
another. 


Question. — Say,  learn'd  Athenians,  how  I  may  improve. 
Or  else  secure  the  extasies  of  love  > 
One  of  the  softer  sex  is  mine,  and  I 
Am  hers  J  just  now 's  the  nuptial  joy. 
Guess  at  the  rest,  your  condescension  can 
Congratulate  my  bliss,  and  paint  the  happy  man  ? 
Answer. — All  that  is  sweet  and  soft  attend. 

All  that  is  calm,  serene,  and  bright. 
That  can  please,  or  pleasure  mend. 

Or  secure,  or  cause  delight. 
Little  Cupids,  come  and  move 

Round  the  Bridegroom's  longing  eyes. 
Whilst  the  stately  Queen  of  Love 
Round  the  Bride  her  cestos  ties. 


«70 


THE   ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 


Golden  Hymen,  bring  thy  robe. 

Bring  thy  torch,  that  still  inspires 
Round  the  stately  amorous  globe 

Vigorous  flames  and  gay  desires. 
Sisfer  Graces,  all  appear ; 

Sister  Graces,  come  away  ; 
Let  the  Heavens  be  bright  and  clear. 

Let  the  Earth  keep  holyday. 
Jocund  Nature  does  prepare 

To  salute  the  charming  Bride, 
And  with  odours  fills  the  air, 

Snatch'd  from  all  the  world  beside. 
Virtue,  Wit,  and  Beauty  may 

For  a  time  refuse  to  yield  j 
But  at  length  they  must  obey. 

And  with  honour  quit  the  field. 
Their  efforts  in  vain  will  prove 

To  defend  their  free-born  state  j 
When  attack'd  by  mighty  Love, 
.    They  must  all  capitulate. 
Marble-hearted  Virgins,  who 

Rail  at  love  to  shew  your  wits. 
So  did  once  Eliza  too. 

Yet  with  pleasure  now  submits. 
Ye  too,  envious  Swains,  who  would 

Follow  Cupid  if  you  might ; 
Like  that  fox  that  gaping  stood. 

Discommend  the  grapes  for  spite. 
Since  experience  teaches  best. 

Ask  if  mutual  love  has  charms, 
When  the  Bride  and  Bridegroom  rest 

Lock'd  in  one  another's  arms  ? 


Quest. — I  am  a  young  woman,  and  would,  like 
others,  fain  get  as  good  a  husband  as  possible,  and 


LOVE  AND  MARRIAGE.  27  1 

in  order  to  do  it,  would  know  how  to  choose  him. 
I  have  heard  the  wise  affirm,  there  are  eight  pro- 
perties required  to  make  so  great  a  rarity  — 
1.  grace;  2.  race;  3.  face;  4.  parts;  5.  art; 
6.  portion;  7.  proportion  ;  S.  a  good  disposition; 
But,  since  I  am  not  hkely  to  get  a  spouse  with 
all  these  qualifications,  I  desire  no  more  of  them 
than  such  as  would  conduce  to  a  young  woman's 
happiness.  To  be  free,  I  would  have  my  five 
senses  particularly  gratified ;  and  therefore  desire 
to  know  which  three  of  those  qualifications  I  may 
best  spare  in  my  Lover  ? 

yhis.  —  Grace  you  have  nothing  to  do  with 
here,  since  it  seems  you  are  only  for  pleasing 
your  senses.  Nor  will  a  good  race  edify  your 
touch  or  taste.  Arts  will  please  your  ear,  if  he 
plays  and  sings  well  ;  face,  your  eyes  ;  portion^ 
your  taste  and  smell ;  and  that  which  rhymes  to 
it,  the  fifth  sense.  And  then  what  need  of  the  two 
remaining  qualifications?  since  2\\yo\iv Jive  senses 
are  gratified  without  them  ?  But  we  will  be  se- 
rious, and  give  you  better  advice  than  perhaps 
you  will  take.  In  the  first  place,  do  not  be  too 
nice  in  your  choice,  lest  you  should  get  no  husband 
at  all,  or  the  worst  that  oflfers — the  common  fate 
of  you  critical  ladies.  Then,  if  you  have  a  choice 
to  make,  choose  first  one  that  has  piety,  or  at  least 
moral  honesty,  if  you  know  where  to  find  him. 
Do  not  give  yourself  to  one  of  mean  parentage, 
let  him  be  ever  so  rich,  who  will  probably  taste  of 
his  education,  and  use  you  ill  when  he  has  you^ 


272  THE  ATHENIAN  ORACLE. 

unless  his  temper  and  conversation  in  the  world 
has  corrected  that  vice.    Nor,  on  the  other  side, 
doat  on  that  airy  name,   a  gentleman,  where 
there  is  no  estate  ;  much  less  on  a  good  face,  un- 
less you  have  a  mind  to  have  your  neighbours 
share  with  you ;  nor  on  a  wit,  unless  you  long  to 
be  basely  used  as  a  proof  of  his  being  so ;  or,  at 
best,  he  will  be  likely  to  have  too  much  love  for 
himself  long  to  admire  you;  much  less  choose  one 
who  has  nothing  but  wealth,  or  all  things  without  it, 
we  mean  a  competency  of  it,  unless  youhaveenough 
for  both ;  for  you  will  soon  find  the  bed  itself  un- 
easy, if  the  cradle  be  full,  and  the  cupboard 
empty.    All  we  say  of  the  next  shall  be,  that  it 
does  very  well ;  a  handsome  leg  and  foot  are  not 
amiss ;  but  yet  there  is  no  one,  except  perhaps  now 
and  then  some  lewd  piece  of  quality,  that  doats 
upon  monsters  either  in  excess  or  defect.  For 
the  last,  a  good  disposition,  it  is  well  in  a  man, 
though  more  necessary  in  a  woman  ;  a  tolerable 
portion  of  good-humour,  we  mean  not  so  much 
as  degenerates  into  fondness  and  softness,  which  is 
apt  to  surfeit  instead  of  please,  and,  besides,  lays 
men  open  to  ill  company,  and  the  practices  of 
every  cunning  knave  he  meets.    On  the  whole, 
take  this  advice  as  to  the  precedency  of  these  qua- 
lifications, on  the  order  wherein  they  ought  to  be 
desired  :  1.  first;  6.  second;  7.  third;  4.  fourth; 
8.  fifth;  2.  sixth  ;  3.  seventh  ;  5.  eighth. 


273 


ALPHABETICAL  TABLE 

OF 

THE  SEVERAL  QUESTIONS. 


America,  whence  first  peopled?  42. 
Anger,  what  is  it  ?  69. 

Angry  and  sin  not,  when  can  a  man  be  ?  185. 
Animals,  on  the  formation  of,  85. 
Apostles  used  no  notes  in  their  preaching,  181. 
Aristotle,  Plato,  and  Pythagoras,  which  the  best  ?  61. 

Beauty,  whether  it  be  real  or  imaginary  ?  258. 

Benefit  of  Clergy,  whence  its  origin?  33. 

Birds,  have  they  any  government  ?  24. 

Bishop  to  be  the  husband  of  one  wife,  explained,  265. 

Bodies,  on  preserving,  68. 

Britain,  why  represented  by  a  woman  sitting  with  a  shield?  51. 

Cain,  what  mark  did  God  set  upon  him  ?  177. 
Camel's  going  through  the  eye  of  a  needle,  explained,  1*9. 
Centaurs  and  Lapithae  explained,  83. 
Children,  whether  punishable  for  their  parents*  sins  ?  165. 
Christ,  why  not  baptized  till  thirty  years  old  ?  144. 
Christ,  the  many  contradictions  about  his  suiferings  recon- 
ciled, 175. 
Christ,  why  he  loved  St.  John  best  ?  186. 
Christianity,  whether  the  occasion  of  more  good  or  harm?  192^ 
Clouds,  what  are  they  ?  1. 

Colour,  on  alteration  of,  in  different  bodies,  135. 
Conceit,  is  it  possible  to  die  of  ?  134. 
Constantinople,  chief  cause  of  its  destruction,  58. 
Corns,  whence  they  proceed  ?  44. 

T 


274 


INDEX. 


Courtship,  whether  allowable  without  consulting  parents, 

&c.  255. 
Crisis,  is  there  any  of  time  ?  18. 

Dancing,  lawfulness  of?  54. 

Days,  whether  persons  have  extraordinary  accidents  on  pecu- 
liar ?  18. 
Death,  what  is  it  ?  IS. 
Death,  the  greatest  of  all  evils,  29. 
Death,  why  so  alarming  to  some,  and  not  to  others  ?  214. 
Deceiver,  if  a  sin  to  deceive  him  ?  177. 
Dew,  how  produced?  12. 
Dissenter,  whether  a  schismatic  ?  185. 
Dreams,  why  men  dream  of  things  they  never  thought  of?  21. 

Early  or  late  hours,  which  best  ?  106. 

Education,  proper  mode  of  ?  48. 

Election  of  a  determinate  member  to  eternal  life,  212. 

Epitaphs  and  Elegies,  their  antiquity  ?  22. 

Esseans,  account  of,  160. 

Estate,  which  is  hardest,  to  get  or  to  keep  an  estate  ?  142. 

Eternity  of  the  world,  166. 

Eyes,  why  both  eyes  see  but  one  image  ?  12. 

Eyes,  why  see  more  correctly  with  one  than  with  both  ?  36. ' 

Fear,  why  it  causes  paleness  ?  90. 
Fire,  how  made  betwixt  Flint  and  Steel  ?  7. 
Fire,  circle  of,  from  a  fire-stick,  53. 
Fleas,  have  they  stings  ?  3. 

Flowers,  why  open  in  morning,  and  shut  at  night  ?  90. 
Friendship,  what  is  it  ?  111. 
Fruit-trees,  grafting  explained,  67 

Glass,  origin  of  ?  94. 

God  hath  made  all  things  for  himself,  &c.  the  meaning  of  ?  165^ 


INDEX. 


275 


God,  how  to  know  the  true  from  false  gods  ?  169. 
God,  all  nations  have  believed  in  a  God,  186. 
Goodness,  whether  any  defence  against  misfortune  ?  179. 
Gout,  original  cause  of  ?  11. 

Gunpowder  or  Printing,  which  the  cause  of  the  greatest  mis- 
chief? 168. 
Guns,  when  first  invented  ?  45. 

Habits,  how  to  be  overcome,  194, 
Hair,  why  some  curls  naturally,  143. 
Hanging  in  chains  alive  ?  38. 

Happiness,  which  enjoy  most,  wise  men  or  fools  ?  36. 
Happiness,  what  is  the  greatest  ?  50. 
Happiness,  what  is  it  ?  62. 

Hearing  or  Sight,  the  loss  of  which  least  felt  ?  140. 
Hercules,  or  Ale  ides,  account  of,  64. 
Herodians,  account  of,  162. 
Horses,  the  cause  of  their  neighing  ?  39. 
Husband,  where  is  the  likeliest  place  to  get  one  ?  224. 
Husband,  whether  lawful  to  pray  for  one  ?  226. 
Husband,  a  lady's  difficulty  in  the  choice  of,  232. 
Husband,  whether  a  woman  should  take  one  she  cannot  love  ? 
243,  248. 

Husband,  how  best  to  choose  one,  271. 

Idle  words,  to  be  accounted  for  in  day  of  judgment,  ex- 
plained, 174. 
Idolatry,  whence  its  first  rise  ?  39. 
Individuation,  wherein  does  consist  ?  15. 
Ingratitude,  nothing  worse  than,  135. 
Inspiration,  by  what  can  we  discover  divine  from  false  ?  145. 
Islands,  how  did  beasts  come  into  >  132. 
Islands,  how  came  they  inhabited  ?  132. 


Joy,  its  utmost  effects  ?  5. 


27G 


INDEX. 


Karreans,  account  of,  163. 

Know  one's  self,  how  to  doit?  169. 

Knowledge,  why  do  men  desire  ?  115. 

Late  or  early  hours,  which  best  ?  106. 
Lammas  Day,  why  so  called  ?  89. 

Latter  ages,  whether  they  have  less  of  learning,  judgment 
and  invention,  than  the  antients  ?  19. 

Laughing  and  weeping  for  the  same  cause,  whence  it  pro- 
ceeds ?  137. 

Letters,  &c.  of  former  admirers,  whether  to  be  preserved 

after  marriage  ?  251. 
Life  more  desirable  than  death,  29. 
Loadstone,  whence  its  polarity  }  27. 
Love,  what  is  it  ?  221. 

Love,  why  it  generally  turns  to  coldness  and  neglect  aft«r 

marriage?  222. 
Love,  best  remedies  for  ?  223. 
Love,  is  absence  best  for  it  ?  224. 
Love,  whether  diminished  by  fruition  ?  229. 
Love,  whether  possible  to  love  twice  with  the  same  ardour  ? 

240. 

Love,  cases  of  difficulty  in,  240,  241,  244,  245,  24S,  265. 
Love,  is  it  good  or  evil  ?  247* 

Love,  whether  bounds  prescribed  to  by  Religion  and  Rea- 
son? 240. 
Love,  how  first  to  address  a  lady  ?  252. 
Love,  Platonic,  whether  innocent  ?  254. 
Love,  the  most  hkely  way  to  succeed  in  ?  257. 
Love,  how  to  ascertain  whether  a  lady  loves  you  ?  258. 
Love,  whether  man  or  woman  most  subject  to  ?  261. 

Man  or  woman,  which  the  most  noble  ?  96. 
Marriage,  if  promise  of,  allowable  against  consent  of  friends  ? 
231. 

Marriage,  is  II.  posbible  to  love  as  well  after  marriage  as  be- 
fore ?  246. 


INDEX. 


277 


Marriage,  whether  the  woman's  condition  is  not  worse  than 

the  man's  ?  *248. 
Marriage,  over-fondness  after,  whether  more  pardonable  in 

man  or  woman  ?  253. 
Marriage,  whether  to  be  entered  into  with  those  We  cannot 

love  ?  256. 

Marriages  for  love  or  convenience,  which  are  best  ?  2C6. 
Marriages,  if  all  made  in  Heaven  ?  266. 
Marriages,  whether  more,  if  ladies  went  a-courting  ?  2rj7. 
Married,  or  single  life,  which  is  best  ?  228. 
Matter  infinitely  divisible,  139. 
Melancholy,  its  symptoms,  causes,  and  cure  ?  2. 
Middle  rank  of  life  most  eligible,  184. 
Milky  Way,  what  is  it  ?  26. 
Millers,  why  more  deaf  than  other  men  ?  139. 
Money,  getting,  the  most  generally  delightful  thing  in  the 
world,  140. 

Money,  whether  a  man  sins  more  in  spending  foolishly,  or  in 

being  covetous  ?  *42. 
Moon,  why  its  beams  do  not  convey  warmth  ?  136. 
Moon,  why  part«  show  a  faint  light  ?  137. 
Mourning,  colours  used  for  in  different  countries,  91. 
Musick,  how  far  proper  in  making  love  ?  262. 

Nature,  the  meaning  of  the  word  ?  53. 

Navigation,  whether  ancients  were  as  well  skilled  in  as  (hr 

moderns  ?  92. 
Nettle,  how  does  it  sting  ?  23. 
Nothing,  definition,  &c.  of  it  ?  72. 
Number,  what  is  a  perfect  ?  43. 

Opium,  whence  derived  ?  10. 

Osiers,  why  smooth  and  rough  ?  9. 

Owl,  why  it  sees  best  in  a  faint  light  ?  13S. 


278 


INDEX. 


Pain  or  Pleasure,  which  most  easily  resisted  ?  70. 
Painting,  what  nation  first  invented  it  ?  6. 
Parents,  on  conduct  of  towards  their  children,  51. 
Parrots,  talking,  32, 

Parrots,  why  talk,  when  other  birds  cannot  ?  39. 

Passion,  how  to  cure  ?  45. 

Paul,  St.  questions  on  his  shipwreck,  &c.  157. 

Pentateuch,  if  written  by  Moses  ?  214. 

Pharisees,  account  of,  15S. 

Pharisees,  why  Christ  so  displeased  with  ?  163. 

Philosopher,  the  first  ?  39. 

Plants,  nature  of  ?  77. 

Plato,  Pythagoras,  and  Aristotle,  which  the  best  ?  61. 

Pleasure  or  Pain,  which  most  easily  resisted  ?  70. 

Poetical  Questions,  7,  229,  230,  269. 

Popes,  whence  the  custom  of  changing  their  names  ?  37. 

Predestination,  whether  the  period  of  our  lives  are  immedi- 
ately fixed  ?  211. 

Pride,  more  generally  observable  in  mean  persons  than  those 
of  good  birth,  57. 

Printing  or  Gunpowder,  which  occasions  the  most  mischief  ? 
168. 

Prudence,  whether  any  defence  against  misfortune  ?  179. 
Pythagoras,  Plato,  and  Aristotle,  which  the  best  ?  61. 

Revealed  ReHgion,  concerning,  154. 

Riches  and  Honour,  their  real  intrinsic  value?  25. 

Rudder,  how  does  govern  a  ship  ?  35. 

Sabbath  day's  journey,  how  far  ?  183. 

Sadducees,  account  of,  159. 

Samaritans,  account  of,  162. 

Satires  or  Sermons,  which  best  reformers  ?  170. 

Sciences,  a  general  or  particular  application  to,  which  most 

desirable  ?  59. 
Scripture,  how  to  know  it  to  be  the  word  of  God  ?  171. 


INDEX. 


Scripture,  ought  to  keep  to  the  strict  text  of,  191. 
Scriptures,  variety  of  interpretations  no  prejudice  to,  172. 
Sermons  or  Satires,  which  most  successful  in  reforming  man- 
ners ?  170. 

Sermon,  why  one  hour's,  seems  longer  than  two  hour's  con- 
versation ?  178. 
Shells,  whence  a  noise  in,  like  the  roaring  of  the  sea }  35. 
Sight  or  Hearing,  the  loss  of  which  is  least  felt  ?  140. 
Silver,  its  degree  amongst  metals  ?  60. 
Singing,  how  far  proper  in  making  love  ?  262. 
Single  life,  or  married,  which  is  best  ?  228. 
Sky,  whether  of  any  colour  ?  37. 
Smoke,  what  becomes  of  it  ?  22. 
Snail,  shell  of,  whence  it  proceeds  ?  68. 
Snakes,  if  hurtful  ?  38. 

Snow,  why  profitable  to  the  fruits  of  the  earth  ?  142. 

Society,  or  Solitude,  which  preferable  ?  25. 

Soul,  what  is  it?  199. 

Soul,  whether  eternal?  198. 

Soul,  whether  all  alike  ?  207- 

Soul,  in  what  part  of  the  body  is  it  ?  208. 

Soul,  what  the  ancient  philosophers  conceived  of  it  ?  209. 

Soul,  where  is  it  when  a  man  is  in  a  swoon  ?  210. 

Souls  of  studious  or  learned  men,  whether  more  perfect  than 

those  of  ignorant  men  ?  209. 
Sound,  progress  of,  34. 
Sound,  whence  it  proceeds  ?  89. 
Stammering,  cure  for  it  ?  64. 

Star  which  appeared  at  our  Saviour's  birth,  its  nature,  &c.  34, 

Sun,  false,  whence  does  it  proceed  ?  46. 

Sun,  where  does  it  set  and  rise  ?  135. 

Sun,  why  cannot  it  penetrate  the  clouds  ?  141. 

Sun,  why  does  it  make  our  flesh  tawney,  yet  whiten  linen  ?  141. 

Superstition,  true  meaning  of,  174. 


Talismans,  Egyptian,  force  and  virtues  of  ?  39*. 


280 


INDEX. 


Talmud,  account  of,  165. 

Temples  of  worship,  when  first  built  ?  183. 

Thirst,  why  less  bearable  than  hunger  ?  90. 

Thought,  what  is  it  ?  47. 

Time,  what  is  it  ?  71. 

Titillation,  the  cause  of?  133. 

Trades,  the  most  cleanly,  neat,  and  genteel :  47. 

Trees,  if  cutting-ofF  the  bottom-root  hurtful  or  beneficial  ?  54. 

Truth,  whether  always  to  be  spoken  ?  102. 

Vacuum,  is  there  such  a  thing  ?  121. 

Virtue,  whether  any  defence  against  misfortune  ?  1*9. 

Weeping  and  laughing  for  same  cause,  whence  it  proceeds  r  137. 

Wife,  whether  beauty,  good  temper,  or  riches,  to  be  pre- 
ferred in  the  choice  of?  237- 

Wife,  whether  allowable  to  pray  for  the  death  of  a  bad  one  ? 
240. 

Wife,  a  good  and  prudent  better  than  a  rich  one,  242. 
Wife,  which  is  best,  a  good  tempered  and  not  religious,  or 

crabbed  and  religious  ?  254. 
Wife,  scolding,  how  to  tame  her?  261. 
Wife,  whether  riches,  beauty,  goodness,  or  extreme  love  in 

return,  should  have  the  preference  in  the  choice  of?  262. 
Wind,  why  the  East  colder  than  the  West  ?  50. 
Woman,  whether  it  be  allowable  to  make  known  her  love  ?  267. 
Women,  capriciousness  of,  126. 
Women,  why  fonder  and  falser  than  men  ?  264. 
Wives,  unruly,  how  to  reclaim  ?  263. 

Zealots,  account  of,  163. 


THE  END. 


Printed  by  J.  Nichols  and  Son,  25,  rarliament  Street,  Westminster.